One of the potential drawbacks to lakefront living is water level fluctuation. In some cases, seasonal changes can cause water levels in a lake to go up or down dramatically—and when there are significant changes, some areas of the lake may not be available for year-round use.
If you’re a boat owner or looking forward to enjoying water activities, chances are you’ll want to know how much water levels fluctuate at Smith Mountain Lake before deciding whether this is the right area for you. Luckily, the answer is a good one: Not very much.
What influences water levels at Smith Mountain Lake?
The biggest lake that is entirely contained in the state of Virginia, Smith Mountain Lake is actually a manmade lake. It was created in 1963 with the building of Smith Mountain Dam—a hydroelectric facility that’s currently licensed to American Electric Power (AEP).
The dam is used to create electricity, and AEP controls much of the water flow for the lake. The company releases water into the lees of the lake on the down side of the dam in order to generate electricity, and AEP also pumps water back up into the reservoir when excess electricity is generated, or during periods of slow demand.
However, for the most part this activity produces only a slight variation in the water levels. The average water level variance for Smith Mountain Lake is just one or two feet—a fairly insignificant fluctuation for 22,000 acres of water.
Another factor that can affect water levels at Smith Mountain Lake is the weather. Drought conditions can cause the lake to dip lower than normal and cause a significant change. However, AEP has worked with communities in the area to change their water release protocols, and prevent severe water level drops during drought conditions.
Smith Mountain Lake is one of the few lakes in the area with relatively stable water levels that allow residents and vacationers full use of the lake, year-round.
Where can you find current water levels for Smith Mountain Lake?
If you’re interested in tracking Smith Mountain Lake water levels, there are a few websites with current information. Smith Mountain Lake Level is a simple website that records and reports hourly water levels for the lake, and you can view water level charts at the hourly, weekly, monthly, or annual level. You can also visit AEP’s project website for the latest information on hydro plant levels and flows.
Looking for a great home or vacation property at Smith Mountain Lake? Contact me today to learn more about available real estate in this wonderful area.