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Lowering the lake, Devils Lake outlets continue to pull water

Despite having “abnormally dry” conditions in the Devils Lake region the process of pumping water from the flood swollen Devils Lake continues. Jeff Frith is manager of the Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resources Board. He says given the dry conditions and the current pumping capacity the lake is not lowering as fast as some may think.

…We hit our peak in the early part of June. But it’s been a very gradual decrease since then. Whether it be the low pumping operations – you know, not pumping at capacity – some of that early June/July rains that came into the lake, that could have been a possibility."

Frith says some routine maintenance has slowed the rate of operation for the two emergency outlets on the lake. He says water conditions continue to be favorable, allowing the outlets to move water into the Sheyenne River.

“…Just had an indication that we are pumping right around 400 cubic-feet-per-second. And it’s been fairly steady for most of the summer.”

Frith says the state is expecting to see the lake levels drop to an elevation of 14-hundred-48 feet this year.  He says while the levels will still be high, it does create more room to store water from the basin…

“…and at that point they would take a look at the continual operation of the outlets and whether they would continue at as strong (levels). I think we will have to reconvene that meeting sometime this fall.”

At 14-46 Devils Lake is still 23-feet higher than when the lake started its rise in 1993.

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