Tie Hack

Lines stretch across the formerly underwater banks of the reservoir on Thursday morning, Aug. 27, 2020 in Bighorn National Forest. In early July, water was released from the reservoir in order to repair the broken boom on the dam. The water needed to be lower than the boom so a boat could get under safely to repair it. Because of the dry weather, the dam has not yet been able to refill itself.

Bulletin photo by Jessi Dodge

It’s been a dry, hot summer and Tie Hack Reservoir west of Buffalo looks like it is suffering the effects of the summer’s drought. The water level is down and cracked dirt extends for yards beyond the boat ramp to the water. 

But it’s not an usually dry summer that is to blame for the low water level. Earlier this summer, the city of Buffalo had to drain water in order to make a repair to the log boom in front of the dam, according to Les Hook, public works director.

Hook said the log boom broke around the first week of July, and in order to make the repair, the water level in the reservoir had to be lowered. Normally, the reservoir would just be refilled with rain water. But, given this summer’s heat and lack of rain, that did not happen.

“It’s probably about the lowest it’s ever been since we built it,” Hook said. 

While the decreased water level has changed the aesthetics of the reservoir, Hook said that draining so much water will allow the reservoir to be replenished with fresh water. 

“It’s not all bad,” Hook said. “That water in there gets old; the longer you store it, the more it degrades the quality of the water.” 

Hook expects that by winter the reservoir’s water level will be back to normal. 

“Most of the time it’s usually full before the ice is even on,” he said. 

Executive editor

Jen Sieve-Hicks is the Bulletin's executive editor. She has covered schools, agriculture and government for the Bulletin.

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