UNION COUNTY, SD (KCAU) — One of Siouxland’s favorite boating destinations, Lake McCook, may be unusable for boaters for part of the spring season.

McCook Lake Association leaders said current water levels are the lowest they’ve seen in more than 20 years and it may be some time before its depths return to normal. .

“Right now the river is ten feet lower than the lake. If there was ever a channel from here to the river, it would simply empty, which would drag the lake down. It’s been historically low,” McCook Lake Association President Dirk Lohry said.

Dirk Lohry is president of the McCook Lake Association, whose task as a non-profit organization is to be guardians of the lake. This includes refilling at the end of each March using a water line from the Missouri River, but this spring the association encountered a challenge when the pump’s dispenser box broke. , broke the pipe and sent lake water everywhere. the shore.

“And so we had a disaster on our hands,” Lohry said.

For the sake of the lake, Lohry and other volunteers set to work, devising a new strategy so they could bring the water back to an adequate level, but not at a cheap cost.

“We decided to modify it and just have one pipe that points upwards to reduce the amount of erosion we get. If we tried to put the pipe straight, it would just eat a grand canyon right in the middle and it ended up costing the association about $50,000,” Lohry said.

Lohry estimates the lake is currently six and a half feet below normal, which is why no boats were at the docks or in the water on a beautiful spring day.

The modified pump has been pushing 12,000 gallons per minute for the past 10 days and with Memorial Day weekend circled as the date the lake will be ready for boating again, he said filling the lake this year would not be possible without the support of the community. .

“I have to thank the corporate sponsors that we have and all the little guys along the lake that use the lake, who have donated sometimes just $20 to thousands of dollars to be able to keep this lake open because it’s a great, wonderful recreational resource,” Lohry said.

Lohry expects the pumps to run all summer, and for that reason he said utility bills will be about three times higher than an average season.