About the Colony

How you can help save Atascadero Lake

A pair of ducks enjoys what little water has returned to Atascadero Lake on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015.
A pair of ducks enjoys what little water has returned to Atascadero Lake on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Friends of Atascadero Lake have done everything they can to save our little lake, short of being able to make it rain. A religious organization tried that last year. But because of work by the city and this volunteer organization, the lake has been filling, ever so slowly.

The city installed a temporary pipe to route creek water to the lake, capturing more rain runoff than would normally occur.

Meanwhile, not long ago, longtime local businessmen Ned Thompson and Doug Filipponi donated services of their well-drilling company to drill a well not far away from the lake. They pointed out that the well wouldn’t be used to actually fill the lake, but it would at least slow the rate of evaporation.

According to Friends of Atascadero Lake, what is needed now is the installation of a pipe from the new well to the lake, a distance of about 400 yards. In addition, the new well needs an electrical connection.

The lake group also recognizes the need for a good aeration system to help prevent future algae blooms which, when they occur, contribute to poor water quality, color and odor.

Of course, we had a pretty good aeration system years ago when motor boats were allowed to operate on the lake. There are a number of photos of people water skiing on the lake in the 1950s and 1960s. The county stopped the practice several years before the lake became city property.

Estimates are that it will cost about $40,000 to cover the expenses, which includes the pump to go on the well.

Although this community has a good reputation for raising money for many projects — a new library, the bandstand at the lake’s edge, a veterans memorial, support of a homeless shelter and more — the clock is ticking on getting enough money fast enough to beat the onrush of another summer and the fourth year of a drought.

Just these past few days have been a reminder of how hot it can get here in the North County. Friends tell me they are already noticing the effects of evaporation.

The Friends group is a nonprofit corporation, so you can make a donation that becomes tax deductible for you and helps save the lake. In a news release from the board of Friends of Atascadero Lake, they say, “We have put the ‘lake’ back into Atascadero Lake Park.”

Indeed they have.

You can send a check to them at P.O. Box 1151, Atascadero, CA 93423, or go to their website at www.friendsofatascaderolake.com.