Keeping Lake Lure on the Level

What it Takes to Keep Lake Lure on the Level

- Rain or Shine

Most of us take for granted that Lake Lure stays at the same level most of the time.  According to rainfall, drought and electricity demand, other lakes in the region rise and fall 10, 20, 30 feet or more during the course of the year.

Lake Lure is different, which allows us to have fixed-height docks and boathouses.  We manage the lake to full pond, meaning 990 feet above mean sea level.    

When the heavy rains come and Lake Lure handles the influx without much effect, the Town's Dam Operators are responsible. 

Handling the big storms

Heavy rain and sustained rain means rivers and streams like this one quickly overflow.
When heavy rain like this is forecast, the lake is intentionally lowered in advance by as much as eight inches below normal lake level. A drop of more than this must be approved by the Town Manager. On the lake, more property damage occurs from high water levels than low, so cautious management keeps the lake lower than full pond during rainy periods.

When the generators are not keeping the lake level down, the Dam Operators utilizes the three flood gates to let out additional water.  When the flood gates have to be raised beyond three feet, we initiate a system of emergency communications, (EVERBRIDGE and public alert loudspeakers). 

If the lake level reaches two and a half feet above full pond, water starts to over top the lowest point of the dam.  At that point, docks are underwater and boat tops have been crunched in boathouses. 

Hydro-electric  Power Generation – green and sustainable!

In a typical year, we’ll make about $270,000 generating power and selling it to Duke Energy.  We have no way to store the power and use it later for our own needs, so we feed it into Duke’s transmission grid.

The Town utilizes these revenues to pay for the staff and operating costs at the dam, for ongoing maintenance of the dam and hydro plant and for dredging where the river meets the lake.  In recent years, we’ve resurfaced the roof of the power house, refurbished one of the generators, painted the dam structures above the lake, installed electric controls for the water intake and converted the dam keeper’s home to a Lake Operations office.