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Along the Lakeshore: Oct. 2

The importance of controlling the lake levels

As I looked out the window to see if the five sisters were around, I realized that my north dock (their basic resting place) was almost under water again. The water is still above the June or early July level and certainly above where it should be at this time of year. The base line or Jan. 1 level, as I understand it, is 860 feet. All levels mentioned are feet above standard sea level.

The recommended levels were generated by a substantial study funded by the Army Corps of Engineers. However, the city has a schedule that sets lake levels according to their desires. Their goal is never to have to buy one gallon of water from Onondaga County Water Authority in the eventuality of drought shortages.

Last week, we had 3 inches of rain and 3 inches again this week. According to the city’s schedule, they are shooting for an Oct. 1 high level of 862.0 and a low of 861.5. The reading last week was 862.4 and 862.78 this week and the Saturday storm is not in this week’s total.

The President of the Skaneateles Lake Association was promised that the city would try to drop 6 inches last week and 6 inches this week. Obviously they are way off the mark. The 57 year average for October is 860.82. As of Sept. 26, they have seem to have begun drawing down the maximum flow. Never-the-less, there is much too much H2O in the lake.

The groundwater has recovered to spring flows and there is no reason to hold the lake high. It just takes the gumption to let the water go. The folk along the lake look forward to some low water for repairs and construction, plus a beach for fires and a place to pull a rowboat up onto the shore. The negative for Skaneateles residents is that we could easily have a southeast blow that would cause a lot of damage as it did four years ago.

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