Spofford Lake Water Levels : How & Why
Computing Spofford Lake’s water level: Stand on the dam grates and look out the channel. The right hand cement abutment’s top surface is at 718 feet above sea level. All measurement are made down to the water (or to the boards) from this surface.
The dam (spillway) was built around 1919. The top of the spillway at
that time was at 716’. The water level then was about a foot lower than
Current dam operation:
The Selectmen are responsible through the Highway Department for
controlling the dam. They try to keep the level at 716’10” in the
summer and 715’6” in the off season. The Town has a Lake level Emergency
Action Plan regarding the dam that calls for emergency action if the
level approaches 717’6”. They are to pull boards from the dam to get
the level lowered.
"Spofford Lake has been raised by damming for 200 years. Water elevation from that time until the late 1950’s fluctuated far more than similar natural lakes. The demand for lake water for use as a power source became so significant it resulted in a Supreme Court action in 1894. Even after water ceased to be used as a power source complaints about low water in the lake continued as the town used the lake to flush sewage from Partridge Brook".
"A conservative assessment of all of the physical and record evidence sets the Natural Mean High Water elevation at 712.5 feet of elevation in the North American Vertical Datum of 1988".