City fix dam during 2023 summer


Photo courtesy of Augusta City Website

The dam has been eroded by the waves of the lake causing it to become smaller. There is more images of the erosion on the Augusta website.

Augusta City Lake is used for many reasons in the community including fishing, boating and much more. Recently, the lake has been lower than it usually is due to the erosion to the dam. 

The dam’s low height is caused by multiple factors including the city and nature; the city also drained the lake an extra two feet to prevent further wave erosion.

“We have been in a drought for the better part of a year, so there has been a lot of lowering because of the lack of rainfall,”  City Manager Josh Shaw said. “The lake is also a drinking water source for the city, and we had a process we are doing with the state of Kansas called perfecting our water rights.”

According to Street Foreman Michael Lunnam, water rights are water that has been pulled from the lake in order for the city to keep the license to use the water for drinking purposes.

“There was almost 500 million gallons of water pulled out of the lake last year that was used as the main water supply for the city to help us secure our water rights for the next 40 years,” Lunnam said.

Aug. 1, 2022, the city agreed on fixing the dam with a material called rip rap rock, which is big rocks placed against the dam face to prevent further erosion into the dirt and clay.

“When [the dam] was rebuilt about 10 years ago, they added about 10 feet of more dirt that was purely sacrificial, meaning it was designed to be eroded and worn down over time naturally,” Shaw said. “We’re going to bring new dirt in and re-establish the shape it was before it was damaged then add in rip rap.”

The new rock face on the dam is a way to prevent erosion and reduce costs in the future; however, some downsides to the new rock face can be some roads being damaged from trucks carrying heavy loads.

“I don’t know how people use the dam to access the lake, but it’ll be harder to access the water with the rock there than it is with just the earth there,” Shaw said. “I do think it’ll be harder for people to access it for fishing off the rock, but not impossible.”

As of now, the city does not have a definite plan for the repairs of the dam; however, the city has a permit and plans to begin the construction when allowed.

“We currently have the engineering plans being reviewed at state level by the Division of Water Resources because the dams are highly regulated,” Shaw said. “We have the permit and now we are just waiting for the state of Kansas to sign off on the approval so we can schedule the construction.”

The City of Augusta is planning to start construction for the dam this summer once they receive approval. The estimated cost is around $1.2 million after being adjusted for inflation.