I have archived the July 2022 Water Level Chart (at left). Easily the most notable thing about the July chart is the steady decline in the lake level for pretty much the whole month! In fact, the lake dropped 28 of the 31 days in July, only rising slightly (or remaining unchanged) on 3 days in response to rainfall received on the 18th, 25th, and the 28th. We ended up with 3.04 inches of rainfall for the month, 1/2 an inch shy of the normal 3.54 inches. To date we’re still 0.30 inches ahead of normal, but don’t be fooled: as I’ve pointed out before, total rainfall doesn’t really give an accurate picture of ground water supplies. We’re currently in moderate drought meaning groundwater supplies are hurting. Here’s a great map of the State: https://www.drought.gov/states/maine. The government site is blocking the Maine Climate Office for some reason which is why our weather page is showing a broken drought graphic 🙁
We started the month at -0.71 feet below the HWM and ended up at -1.21 feet on the 31st, having lost a total of 6 inches of water for the month. It hasn’t been this low this time of year since the summer of 2018, before we owned the dam! Most of the water loss is attributable to the drought conditions we’re experiencing: we’re losing water through evaporation and leakage with not enough rainfall to replenish the water lost. Of that 6 inches of water loss, evaporation accounts for nearly 2/3 of it and leakage at the dam which we estimate to be about 2 cubic feet per second which amounts to about 1/16th inches per day, and that added up to about 2.15 inches over the month or about 35% of the total water loss; evaporation on the other hand is responsible for 3.85 inches or 64% of our water loss for the month. Water really evaporates on days like yesterday with high temperatures, a light breeze, and low humidity.
On a bright note, as I’ve pointed out before, Clary Lake water quality benefits from these dry conditions due to the lack of runoff. On the 23rd Kelsie French and I had a secchi disk reading of 4.05 meters (13.3 feet) which is very clear especially for this time of year. As for runoff, back on the 18th of July we received 1.14 inches of rain overnight. This brought the lake up only 0.96 inches, not even as much as it rained! There was obviously no runoff to speak of at all, what fell on the ground mostly soaked into the ground. A complete precipitation record can be found on our 2022 Clary Lake Dam Operation Log.
In a “normal” year with “normal” rainfall we could expect the lake level to stay where it belongs, even with the small amount of leakage, but this isn’t a normal year. We have begun raising money to make repairs to the dam, but that won’t be for a couple of years yet. Until then, we’re pretty much at the mercy of the weather.