Low Water Levels Hurt Local Business on Smith Mountain Lake

Moneta, VA - A lot of people at Smith Mountain Lake are fed up over low water levels. Businesses owners say it is causing them to lose work, and homeowners say they cannot get their boats out on the water.

Many plan to attend a community meeting about that Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Trinity Ecumenical Parish in Moneta.

People say it is a three prong issue: Economically, it is hurting local business. Visually, it does not look too great, and it is causing a loss of recreation.

"There's nobody that isn't upset about it. People aren't bothering to come back down to the lake," said Deborah Greene, owner of GG Shoreline Services.

Greene says it is hurting her bottom line.

"Probably 30 jobs ahead of us. We have only been able to get 10 jobs done since the end of July, first of August.

Greene owns a drudging and shoreline protection company. She says in her line of work, they have to be able to get up to the shoreline to put the rip rap in or dig out the cove.

"A lot of people can't get their boats out right now because it's so low and we can't get to their slip to even drudge it," said Greene.

Greene claims the water is down six feet and says levels have been fluctuating since July.

"It's just an overall socioeconomic problem that I think AEP has some responsibility for," said Greene.

"We are into a drought. This is not the fault of AEP," said Russell Johnson, a SML association member.

Johnson is also a concerned citizen who will speak at the water meeting. He agrees there is a problem.

"There are chains that they use to lower their boats. the chains aren't long enough so they can't get their boat out," Johnson.

During the meeting, a good chunk of time will be focused on correcting misinformation and trying to work out solutions. But do not bank on a quick fix. Johnson says there is no simple solution.

"There's nothing we can do in the short-term. That's one of the misinformation. I can't solve a drought," said Johnson.

Johnson says he is going to chair a committee to work on evaluating water levels between now and 2015. He says that is when the next license, or revision to the water permit comes up, and they want to be prepared.