Our watershed management strategy includes a wide variety of routine maintenance and monitoring activities, and as part of this proactive approach to management we plan to lower the water levels of both Lake Bowen and Lake Blalock by approximately 3ft.
Our Spartanburg Water team plans to take advantage of the lower levels to survey the lakeshore and those areas of the lakes that would not normally be visible. We will also use the opportunity to exercise the valves and gates used to control and maintain “full pool” status.
Additionally, the drawdown of the lakes will allow our lake residents to perform important maintenance to their marine structures and seawalls, as well as work on shoreline stabilization projects.
Our plan is to attempt a lake drawdown of both Lake Bowen and Lake Blalock on an annual basis, beginning this year. This will ensure that our Spartanburg Water team has the opportunity to perform the maintenance and monitoring activities that are benefited by lower lake levels, and our lake residents have a yearly chance to provide maintenance to their marine structures and shoreline areas.
With the drier conditions we are currently experiencing this Fall, we can take advantage of this natural drawdown process.
The lake levels are currently lower than full pool. At this time Municipal Reservoir #1 requires an additional flow of water in order to achieve optimum levels for drinking water operations and treatment.
For this reason, we are focusing on allowing more water from Lake Bowen to flow into Reservoir #1 as soon as possible, since this process does take time. With this movement of water, you will begin to see lower lake levels sooner than originally anticipated. We plan to make the overall drawdown of Lake Bowen and Lake Blalock approximately 2.5 – 3 ft., with it lasting through the end of February 2023.
While we are currently experiencing a very dry weather pattern, wetter weather (especially heavy rainfall) may cause the lake level to fluctuate during the drawdown period. Rainfall levels may also affect our ability to reach and maintain these lower levels.
While we do not expect this drawdown to have any drastic impact on normal recreation activities like fishing, there may be areas of the lake that may be harder to navigate during the drawdown. Our staff will be posting signs to alert boaters of the potential hazards of using their watercraft while the reservoir is at a lower level.
We still plan to keep our boat landings at Lake Bowen and Lake Blalock Parks open and available for use. In order to ensure safety, we will place bright yellow warning buoys at certain intervals from shore to note potential shallow water hazards. As always, we encourage safety. Please speak with a Lake Warden to ensure that your plans do not involve taking your boat into a portion of the reservoir that may be difficult to navigate.
Lake residents may benefit from the lower levels, which provide perfect conditions to survey erosion and perform shoreline maintenance projects, including the construction or repair of docks, shoreline stabilization structures and walkways. If you are considering a shoreline management or other project that requires a permit, please contact our Lake Wardens’ Offices to start the permitting process.
Please remember that maintenance activities do not include pushing yard debris or any other material into the lake, and fires are not allowed on Spartanburg Water property.
Other than minor maintenance as defined by Spartanburg Water rules and regulation documents, permits are required for any work that falls below the 827’ contour line around Lake Bowen or the 720’ contour line at Lake Blalock. We encourage you to make permit applications to ensure adequate time for them to be processed and issued by our watershed management team and lake staff. Please be sure to contact our lake wardens’ offices if you are planning to work on maintenance during the drawdown period.
Applications are available at the Lake Bowen Wardens’ Office, located at 8515 Highway 9 in Inman, and the Lake Blalock Wardens’ Office, located at 1925 Sandy Ford Rd. in Chesnee.
Also, be sure that you are subscribed to receive our Lake Alerts for regular updates on the drawdown process – both e-mail and text notifications are now available. Visit spartanburgwater.org/lakealerts to learn more.
Although not required, we recommend that any boats or personal watercraft be moved from the water during the drawdown. Please call our Lake Bowen Wardens’ office at (864) 592-2240 or Lake Blalock Wardens’ Office at (864) 578-5442 if there are specific questions regarding boats or other personal watercraft on the lake.
While we will be working towards lowering Lake Bowen and Lake Blalock by approximately 3 ft., keeping them lowered may be challenging during rainfall events or wet weather patterns. While we do have valves and piping that can release supplemental water from Lake Bowen Dam into Municipal Reservoir #1, we must ensure we can provide adequate quantities of water to the drinking water treatment facility for our community.
As lake residents consider and begin to implement permitted projects, we recommend that weather forecasts be monitored on a regular basis, especially when planning key shoreline work.