Archusa Repair Delayed

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It's far from a typical summertime day on Archusa Lake in Clarke County. No boats, no swimming, and no jet skiing can be found because the lake level is so low.

Residents of Clarke County say they're concerned that they may be losing a precious resource. Johni Daniels, who owns lakefront property, just wants to know what's going on.

"We just want to be kept in the know. We want to be updated and we want to make sure that the taxpaying money that's given to this lake, especially by Clarke County is not being misused," Daniels said.

Daniels and her neighbors pay higher property taxes to own their waterfront homes. But when the dam's spillways began to leak back in July, the water has receded, making the lake unattractive.

Clarke County District 4 supervisor Paul Mosley said the Pat Harrison Water District controls Archusa Lake and is responsible for the repairs has kept the board of supervisors up to date on the progress.

"The way we understand it, they're going to have to pump grout, concrete, when the lake gets down low enough," said Mosley. "Of course, here lately the rains have caused a problem getting the lake down low enough."

The Pat Harrison Water District manages water in the 15-county Pascagoula River Basin. Officials with the district say the lake level is now around 211 feet. It needs to recede to 210 feet in order for the repair work to begin.

Regarding the amount of time it will take to get the lake back to normal, the district released this statement:

"Some minor repairs and further testing will be conducted under the supervision of our engineer in the interim. Unfortunately, the district cannot predict the long-term weather outlook, and thus, cannot tell the public exactly how long the lake will remain down."

But until the lake is back to normal, residents like Johni Daniels will still feel uneasy about what's happening to their waterway.

"There's very few resources left in our community for us to be proud of with all the recent plant closings and the great loss of employment," said Daniels. "It seems to be a shame that we may lose a great natural resource as Archusa."