Lake Wateree Association is a group of citizens dedicated to maintaining Lake Wateree as the invaluable environmental resource it is. While the majority of members are property owners, membership and participation is encouraged for all stakeholders. This would include all who use the lake for recreation (boating, fishing, swimming, etc), business, and as a source of drinking water for both Camden and Lugoff.
The number one objective and task is maintaining acceptable water quality and quantity, because without it the lake loses much of its appeal as a home, recreational playground, and source of drinking water. The lake is currently in a eutrophic state which means it is too rich in mineral and organic nutrients. The current worst pollutant is phosphorous. This condition can promote a proliferation of plant life, especially alga, which reduce dissolved oxygen content and can lead to death of aquatic life. Many of LWA’s programs are aimed at monitoring and improving this condition. Examples would include the Water Watch Team and the Covekeeper Teams.
LWA also has many other programs that work to improve lake conditions and quality of life for all stakeholders. These would include such things as drought and flood control, zoning and planning for undeveloped property, water safety and marine law enforcement, crime watches, improvement in EMS response, road and highway improvements, and roadside and shoreline trash cleanup.
LWA is a very important participant for interactions with Duke Energy. Duke’s management of the dam hydroelectric station, their Shoreline Management Program, and their public access areas can dramatically affect all users and residents of the lake. Their real estate division (Crescent Realty, a former subsidiary of Duke Energy) still owns large blocks of undeveloped land on the lake. The way this land is sold and developed in the future can obviously have a large impact on lake stakeholders. Duke is currently in the process of applying for a new license to continue their operation of all their impoundments and hydroelectric stations on the Catawba/Wateree system. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will issue the new license in 2008 for the next 30-50 years. Thus, it is critical that Lake Wateree stakeholders be a part of these proceedings. Several LWA members are vigorously participating in groups interfacing with Duke and FERC in the relicensing process.
LWA also maintains close liaisons with governmental and regulatory agencies whose activities impact the lake. These include our State senators and representatives, county and city councils, the Sheriff’s department, S.C. DHEC, and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.
LWA works closely with a number of environmental advocacy groups that are addressing issues pertaining to the entire Catawba/Wateree basin. We do this recognizing that what happens elsewhere in the basin above Wateree also impacts us downstream. LWA is actively involved with the following groups and financially supports some:
- Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation
- Catawba-Wateree Relicensing Coalition
- Clean Water South Carolina
- Catawba River Task Force
- Catawba-Wateree Basin Commission
Finally, LWA exists to have fun and socialize with friends and neighbors involved with the lake. The Annual Meeting, held in the Spring, is open to all members and includes a free meal and door prizes. Picnics are supported for local areas or groups of areas on both sides of the lake. There are also many smaller groups of both men and women that meet on a regular basis. The annual 4th of July fireworks display supported by LWA is, of course, a big, fun event for people from a wide area surrounding the lake.