Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Lake Management

Our lovely lake is part of a system of lakes in North and South Carolina that is managed by the local power company. The lakes are created with a series of dams up and down a river basin that stretches from the mountains of NC southward to the lowlands of SC.

Throughout the year, the power company manipulates the lake levels, depending on weather conditions and the need for hydroelectric power. Usually, they lower the lake to its lowest level in the winter, and that gives property owners a chance to perform dock and seawall maintenance. We're lucky with our particular lot. When the lake is full, the water comes all the way up to our seawall; when the lake is at its lowest, the floats of our dock are still in the water, though it is very shallow. We also have one of the few natural sand beaches, so we have a nice swimming area.

For the last couple of years, our area has been under severe to extreme drought conditions. I wrote about it here, and posted pictures like this one of our own dock.

You can see that about half of our dock is beached, and you can easily see the havoc the low water played on the structure of our dock. I'm surprised we made it through the season without losing it altogether.

This year we've had some relief from the drought. Our specific area is officially out of the drought, but the entire river basin as a whole is still in stage 3 drought conditions. We had a lot of rain this fall which enabled the lake to get almost to full pond, which in turn allowed the lake management folks to have more control over the winter level. That means we're back to almost-normal winter levels, which look like this.

That's My Man and the kids burning the Christmas tree and yard debris, an annual thing here when the lake gets low enough to allow it.

It's so wonderful to see the difference. While we aren't farmers, or otherwise dependent on rain for our livelihood, this past drought has been such a reminder to me of how folks throughout time have been dependent on God's providence. Everytime I saw our creaking old dock about to break in half due to the low water, I was reminded of the awesome power of our Lord, and the inability of man to control certain things.

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. -- Matthew 5:45

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