DANDRIDGE (WATE) - Continued hot and dry weather is causing lake levels to sink, putting some favorite East Tennessee summertime activities at risk.
Tennessee Valley Authority officials are on alert, and they're only letting out the minimum amount of water possible from area reservoirs. Still, water levels could get worse before they get better.
"You just have to check it every morning, every night to make sure your lake level, your depth around the boats is secure and stuff because it becomes a problem," said The Point Marina manager Mike Turner.
The water level at Douglas Lake has dropped about eight feet in the past month.
"Right now, we still have fairly good tributary reservoir levels. They are lower than we would like the for this time of year, but the prolonged dry conditions and meeting minimum flows downstream, they are falling a little bit faster than we would like," said Tom Barnett, with TVA.
The only thing that would really have a positive impact on reservoirs is rain and a lot of it.
"Five feet would require about an inch to an inch and a half of runoff, which given the dry conditions, that would take probably around five to six inches of rainfall. So it would take a significant rain even to get Douglas back up to its full summer pool," Barnett explained.
Lake levels are still high enough to enjoy some time out on the water for the Fourth of July.
"We're still good for the holiday week coming up. People can still get out and enjoy the reservoirs, and maybe exercise a little bit more caution. It might be a little lower than they are used to seeing this time of year, but still very good for recreation," Barnett added.
Boaters say the levels aren't low enough to stop them from getting out on the lake.
"I don't think we would have a lot of concern. I mean this boat, when we launched our boat, the main part of the lake was 69' deep at this point. So it's just a little bit farther to get to it, no problem," Steve Stroder said.
TVA says it's pulling equally from the different tributary reservoirs and continuing to try and balance the flows so no one lake gets lower than the others.
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