I’ve archived the August 2015 water level chart (at left), and what a chart it is. One glance and you can see that the water level hardly moved. For the entire month the lake level never rose above -63″ below the top of the dam and on August 7th it reached -65.16″ below the top of the dam, the lowest level I’ve ever recorded. The lake is so low in fact that water is no longer flowing out of the lake into the outlet channel and hasn’t been since early July; there’s a trickle of water flowing through the open gate in the dam but it is coming from ground water and springs in the meadow area. It’s actually been at or below -60″ below the top of the dam since July 10th. This makes it the longest stretch of the lowest water levels we’ve experienced in the last 4 years. It’s gotten almost this low before, but it has never stayed this low for this long.
The low water condition has been exacerbated by the near-drought conditions we’ve experienced so far this year. As of the end of August we had received only 18.88″ of precipitation for the year compared to 32.83″ on this date a year ago. As a result, because the ground is so dry, there has been no absolutely no runoff as the result of what little rain we have received. To make matters worse, because of the topography of the shoreline around lake, when it does rain the lake doesn’t so much get deeper as it does bigger. This then explains how last August 11th and 12th when we received 2.29″ of rain, the lake only came up 1.92″ total. This defies logic, but as those of you who have stuck sticks in the mud on your water front to mark where the water line is can attest, it ain’t moved.
This extended period of excessively low water levels has severely restricted everyone’s use and enjoyment of Clary Lake even more than usual, not to mention the ongoing impact on wildlife habitat, and water quality. There will be consequences.