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Surface Water Hydrology

 

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Dr. Robin (Buz) Kloot

Associate Director

  • Phone: 803-978-7522

  • Fax: 803-978-7528

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Lake Wateree

Since the summer of 2008, the Wateree Homeowner’s Association (WHOA) and the Lake Wateree Association (LWA), commonly known as WaterWatch, has been collaborating with University of South Carolina (USC) faculty and graduate students from across campus (including the School of Public Health, the Department of Biological Sciences and the Earth Sciences and Resources Institute in the School of the Environment) in monitoring lake water quality and assessing the health of Lake Wateree.   

Between July and December 2008, the group of WaterWatch volunteers and USC personnel conducted six sample runs on twenty separate sites on Lake Wateree to measure water quality parameters that included dissolves oxygen, turbidity (cloudiness) and pH (acidity) of the lake’s waters.  This effort required teamwork where WaterWatch volunteers served as pilots and supplied boats to reach all monitoring sites while USC provide technical and scientific support.   

The data collected were compared to historic data from previous WHOA efforts between 1999 and 2003.  The results of the sampling exercise showed that on average, water quality in the lake’s headwaters (i.e., the arms of the lakes where streams enter) appear to be improving while on average,  no significant changes were evident in the rest (the embayments and main channel) of the lake.  Historic South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) data between 2002 and 2007 indicated a reduction of phosphorus (too much phosphorus can cause algal blooms and a subsequent drop in dissolved oxygen, known as eutrophication) entering the lake, but as yet, no corresponding increase in dissolved oxygen or decrease in summer algae (chlorophyll-a)  concentrations are evident.  While there is some encouraging evidence that the lake’s water quality has improved, SCDHEC still considers Lake Wateree eutrophic – all the more reason for WaterWatch and USC to maintain an active monitoring effort on the lake.   

While regular monthly lake monitoring continues in 2009, USC Graduate student, Sara Powell, intends to tackle a number of new questions that resulted from the previous research in her 2009 Master’s thesis entitled “Lake Wateree - getting out of the lake and into the watershed”.   In addition to Sara’s work, the collaborative effort has uncovered a number of new avenues of inquiry which WaterWatch hope to turn into fruitful projects for volunteers and students in the future.
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