Attend April DLWID Meeting
Board Meets April 10th, 2014 6:00pm
The Devils Lake Water Improvement District Board meeting will be held on Thursday April 10th at 6:00pm. The meeting will be held in the City Hall Council Chambers, which are located on the third floor of City Hall. We need you, the homeowners, to attend in large numbers to make it clear to the DLWID that the 2014 lake level must be increased to 9.53’ for better navigation and improved water quality.
In July 2012, the DLWID Board seemed unimpressed by the 61 residents in attendance. This was evidenced by their action to lower the summertime lake level resulting in navigation problems and two years of terrible water conditions. Our attendance did however squash Chair Brian Green’s attempt to remove the dam completely. Mr. Green continues to routinely threaten to remove the dam which will result in the abandonment our water right.
The Devils Lake Neighborhood Association has attended the past two DLWID Board meetings and requested the Board resolve to exercise the maximum impoundment right of 9.53’ beginning April 15th through October 15th. They have thus far refused to act upon our request.
Is Nine Months of Continuous Algae Enough?
Here are a couple of thoughts…
It’s quite enough! Never in the collective memories of lake residents has such a lengthy bloom occurred. It is time to tell the Devils Lake Water Improvement District to reverse their decision in July of 2012 to lower the lake to 9.0’.
A positive decision would rectify many of the navigation issues that lowering the water created. It is doubtful that our water quality will rebound in a single season. In the long term higher water levels will not cure the algae problem, but this simple change has the potential to make our blooms less severe.
Our right to control lake level will soon be lost forever?
In July 2012, the DLWID Board lowered the summertime lake level to 9.0’ and refused our continued requests to restore lake levels to the previous height of 9.53’. Oregon law provides that the Districts water right must be forfeited unless they fully exercise the right at least one day in each five year period. The clock is ticking!
“Oregon law provides in ORS 540.610 that the District’s water right must be fully exercised at least one day in five years or they must forfeit the use of the right” Oregon Water Resources Department
Did lower water make the lake green?
Algae in the lake are the result of many factors. We predicted the lake would warm as a result of the loss of 330 million gallons of water. That appears to have been the result. According to published temperatures on the dlwid.org website average water temps have increased 3% since lowering the lake. Additionally, the concentration of dissolved nutrients in the water column have likely increased simply by releasing the water held back during the summertime impound period. Most residents feel this process must be reversed.
What about septic system?
In order to bolster the remote potential for a sewer system installation around the lake the District has begun to demonize property owners with installed septic systems. So did septic systems cause the sudden increase in algae the past few years? There is no direct evidence of this link.
In a recent board meeting, Paul Robertson, Lake Manager stated in response to why the lake was green that “fifteen septic systems on the lake could have failed over the summer”. A review of County records provided by Quinn Andreas, Senior Environment Health Specialist, Lincoln County revealed that zero systems had failed on the lake over the summer.
As septic system owners we have certain maintenance responsibilities to ensure clean operation. Look for more about that in coming months as part of our Septic Smart program.