Lake Cumberland below summer pool elevation due to lack of rain

Lake Cumberland did not receive enough rain this spring to reach its traditional summer pool elevation, according to water managers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Nashville.

Federal officials say both Lake Cumberland and nearby Dale Hollow Lake did not get to their typical summer elevation due to hydrologic conditions, or lack of rainfall.

Earlier this week, Wolf Creek Dam at Lake Cumberland had a pool elevation of 714.9 feet. The typical target is elevation 723 feet by mid-May. The historical median elevation for early June is 721 feet. In addition, there is not an option to simply “shut off” the flow of water from Wolf Creek Dam to allow it to fill, according to the Corps.

While the water being released from Wolf Creek Dam is below historical median flows, it is still critically important for the entire reach of the Cumberland River that it continues, Corps officials say. The historical median May flow from Wolf Creek Dam is 10,500 cubic feet per second. Last month the average flow was 3,100 cfs.

At this time, more than 50 percent of the water flowing through Nashville is originally released from Wolf Creek Dam. This water provides clean hydroelectric energy at the dam and again at four additional hydropower plants as it makes its way towards the Ohio River. Additionally, this water is critically important for water quality, water supply, commercial navigation, recreation, and fish and wildlife habitat throughout the Cumberland River Basin.

Despite the lower summer pool elevation, Lake Cumberland Resource Manager Jonathan Friedman reminds folks there is still plenty of water in the lake for the public to enjoy and the current pool elevation will not have a negative impact on recreation.