The Rise & Fall of Lake Eucumbene
The Rise and Fall of Lake Eucumbene
The water levels at Lake Eucumbene fluctuate from season to season and from year to year. This fluctuation is largely driven by the amount of rainfall in the mountains, spring snow melt and legislated environmental water releases.
Data from Snowy Hydro Limited (www.snowyhydro.com.au) shows that, in general, the lake reaches a peak in late spring and early summer, and slowly falls from late December, reaching its lowest levels around July each year.
Records show the highest Lake Eucumbene has been in the last 23 years was back in November 1998 when the lake was 86.4% full. In more recent years, drought and limited snow run-off has reduced the lake to alarmingly low levels. In fact, on 14 July 2007 Lake Eucumbene fell to just 8.7% of capacity – the lowest level seen since the lake was filled way back in 1958.
When levels are low, many parts of the lake are left high and dry. For example, Providence Portal (where the Eucumbene river flows into Lake Eucumbene) had no reliable water for boating between late 2006 and early 2012. Boating returned briefly to the Portal area during 2015 and 2016, but falling lake levels have seen little to no boating since. Water returns to the Portal when the lake rives above 40%, but boating remains difficult until levels reach over 50%. That said, fishing in the river at Providence Portal (in the open season) can yield some nice brown trout.