Vicksburg, Miss… North Mississippi is currently experiencing drought-like conditions that are responsible for low water levels at four area Corps of Engineers lakes: Arkabutla, Enid, Grenada, and Sardis.
Operation Project Manager Matt Pierce urges visitors to use caution: "We are asking visitors to please use caution while visiting the lakes this holiday weekend. All four lakes are an average of 5-7 ft. below rule curve levels for this time of year which means there are a substantially larger number of obstructions in the lakes at these lower water levels that most summer recreation boaters don't ever see. We also remind everyone of the life jacket policy and to make sure they are wearing their life jacket whenever they are swimming outside of designated swimming areas".
These reservoirs were originally constructed for flood control purposes and, as such, are regulated in accordance with guidelines established by the Vicksburg District’s Hydraulics Branch located in Vicksburg. As part of an overall flood control plan for the Yazoo River Basin, an annual cycle is followed at each lake that requires the drawing down of water levels in the late summer/early fall to allow for the storage of anticipated spring rains.
However, this year’s lack of rainfall has caused water levels to remain well below normal for this time of year, making boating and swimming activities dangerous. Boaters are reminded to use extra caution while navigating the lakes this year as a greater number of underwater obstructions/obstacles may occur during the various stages of low water. Operators of jet skis and boaters who tow people/objects should take every precaution to make sure activities are performed in safe waters.
The Corps of Engineers encourages visitors to our lakes to be especially safe this recreation season by remaining alert to current hazardous low water conditions and following a few safety rules:
1. Learn to swim & wear a life jacket
2. Swim with a friend
3. Parents, watch your children AT ALL TIMES
4. NEVER dive into lakes or rivers
5. Follow all State and Federal boating laws
6. Be courteous to others on the water
7. Never mix drinking with boating
8. Use grills and fire rings for building fires
9. Have a bucket of water on hand and extinguish fires before leaving
10. Obey ALL “Posted Restrictions” and warning signs
The Vicksburg District encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana. Although the primary mission of the Mississippi lakes is to provide flood risk reduction, more than 4.5 million visits are made to the lakes’ facilities each year. Visitor spending at the north Mississippi lakes totals more than $101 million annually with 52% being captured by local economies. Visitor spending supports the addition of 1,500 jobs.