2024 Spring Meeting

Members of CPWL are encouraged to attend our spring meeting this Wednesday, May 22nd. The doors open at 6:30 pm with the meeting starting at 7 pm. The Social Committee will be serving refreshments giving everyone the opportunity to mingle with each other and the members of the Board. We hope to have a great turnout for this important meeting and look forward to your help in outlining plans for a fun and productive summer on the lake! See you Wednesday!

DEM Guide to Assist in Managing Growing Canadian Geese Populations

Resident Canada geese have become year-round residents of Waterman Lake and their numbers have increased greatly. Lake residents may encounter problems with large numbers of geese on their lawns, roads, and in the lake.

To learn more, download this guide from the Rhode Island DEM.

The document is designed to provide the public with tools to avoid and/or mitigate resident goose issues within their community and provide the public with an understanding of Rhode Island’s current Canada goose management plan.



Temporary Change to Lake Level

We have received several requests to drop water levels from people who need to do repairs, and have been unable to because of the large amount of rain (9” in March) resulting in high water levels.

Starting today (3/30), and over the next four to five days, we will be lowering the water levels. Beginning next weekend (4/6), we will begin to raise the water level at the normal seasonal rate. Depending on rainfall, boating should be available shortly after that. We have a target date of “lake full” of May 15th.

Lake water levels are on the rise again

The water level should rise to the normal drawdown height of between 60” and 72” below the spillway (or full level) over the next couple of weeks.  It should remain at that height until March 25th, when we will begin bringing the lake up to “full”.

As we told you in December, we needed the water level down about seven feet to evaluate the leakage through the dam.  Due to all of the excess rain, it took far longer to get the lake down to that level than anticipated.

While the water was down, we also did an inspection of the gatehouse, including the plates and tracks that the plates fit into.  Several plates needed the guides rewelded and this was done as well.  The concrete pit floor (where water dumps when it flows over the plates) had some scouring (erosion) which will need to be addressed at some point in the future.

With the water level so low, the leak had nearly stopped.  We will continue to monitor the leak as the lake fills up; this will give us additional data regarding possible fixes.

For any questions, please email us at cpwl@cpwl.org


Dear Lake Residents:

Most, if not all of you are aware of the problems we have with the dam leaking.

As we continue to try to determine the exact cause and fix, this letter is to notify you that we will be temporarily dropping the lake down eight feet, instead of the usual six.  This will only be for a couple of days so that we may do an evaluation of where the dam is leaking.

While the water is down low, we will also conduct an inspection of the rail and plate system, as well as the gate.  These are the devices that control the water level.  No problems are anticipated, but it can’t hurt to do a close inspection.

The water will only be at the low level for about 48 hours, hopefully less.  Once the inspection is complete, we will begin to raise the level up to the usual drawdown level of 5.5 feet, plus or minus 6 inches.

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has been notified as well as Smithfield and Glocester EMA Directors, and the Fire Departments both in Smithfield and Harmony.


Robert Eaton, President
Ken Robertson, Vice President
Philip Viall, Treasurer
Elizabeth Viall, Secretary
Mike Stewart, Dam Committee Member

Algae Bloom Advisory Update 2

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) visited the lake on 09/20.  They found a substantial bloom near Pine Ledge Road.  The “no swimming, boating, fishing” recommendation is still in place.  It is uncertain when the next visit will take place.  Inquires about possible treatments have been made to the RIDOH.

Algae Bloom Advisory Update

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) wants to begin the process of lifting the advisory against swimming, boating, and fishing on Waterman Lake.  The lifting process requires two negative toxin tests one week apart.  If you notice any algae blooms on the lake, please send a picture (and location) to cpwl@cpwl.org, and we will let RIDOH know.

Swimming, boating, fishing, etc., NOT RECOMMENDED

Dear Lake Residents:

On September 5th, the CPWL officers received an email from the RI Department of Health (RIDoH).  The email advised us that they had investigated reports of potentially harmful blue-green algae blooms on Waterman Lake.  Testing the bloom revealed “high cell counts,” indicating toxicity.  The email goes on to say “At this time [the Department of Health] further recommends no swimming, boating, and fishing due to the harmful bloom.”

RI DEM and RI DoH will be issuing a joint press release shortly.  They plan to do follow up testing early next week.  We will let you know more as we learn more.

The RI DEM website (https://dem.ri.gov/environmental-protection-bureau/water-resources/research-monitoring/cyanobacteria-blue-green-algae) has more information on blue-green algae which is copied below.  It also has the status of each affected lake in the state.

Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, are naturally found in many freshwater ecosystems. A combination of excess nutrients, sunlight, and high temperatures can lead to a rapid increase in cyanobacteria, called a “bloom.” Blooms of cyanobacteria generally occur in late summer into the early fall when water temperatures are warmest and an abundance of sunlight and nutrients are available. Some species of cyanobacteria can also produce toxins. These toxins are harmful to people and pets. There are no visual properties of a cyanobacteria bloom that indicate the algae are producing toxins. It is only possible to determine if toxins are present with laboratory tests. If a cyanobacteria bloom is observed, it is best to take caution and stay out of the water to avoid any potential exposure to toxins.

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) work cooperatively to detect/respond to the presence of cyanobacteria blooms, evaluate the potential risks to the public, and, when necessary, issue health advisories notifying the public of health concerns. The agencies jointly issue health/recreational advisories when conditions indicate a cyanobacteria bloom poses a risk to public health.

Message from the Dam Committee

A very common question this time of year is, “When are you going to start raising the water level?”  The short answer to this question is, “hopefully by April 7th, we will begin raising the water level.”  A much longer answer is below.

As I wrote to lake residents last July, there was and is a problem with leakage through the dam.  As required by RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), we contracted with a Professional Engineering firm with expertise in Dams (specifically Pare Engineering Corporation) to do a detailed study of the dam around the area of leakage (just south of the Gatehouse).  In October a test well was drilled into the dam, and the water level was monitored inside the dam as the water level dropped in the lake.  Leakage was also monitored at the site.  From the analysis of the drill borings and actual water level data (both inside the dam and lake level), Pare Corp created a model of the dam's structure and made recommendations as to what corrective actions CPWL needs to take to bring the dam into compliance with RIDEM.

The first step is to cut all trees down in the study area, the theory being that the leaking water is following roots as they wind through the dam.  Eventually, the roots will need to be pulled out as much as possible without disturbing the integrity of the dam, but that is a project for winter 2022-2023.  Cutting trees down now will allow the roots to degrade a bit, making them easier to pull out next winter.  Most likely the downstream (opposite the lake) side of the dam will need to be regraded, with a slope much less than it is now.  That is likely a project for 2023-2024 depending on the cost and funding available.

Because of possible damage to the dam, the trees must be cut when the water level is low.  The final report (available on the website, cpwl.org) from Pare Corp was delivered to us (and RIDEM) on March 17.  RIDEM approved the cutting of trees in concept, but there were hoops to jump through.  Based on RIDEM regulations, trees on the dam and up to 15’ from the toe of the dam may be removed without a permit (‘toe’ is defined as where the dam embankment meets the natural grade of the land).  Our problem is that several of the trees (and likely the ones causing the problem) are more than 15’ from the toe of the dam.  Over the last couple of weeks, we, with the help of Pare Corp have appealed to an exception mentioned in the regulation but were unsuccessful.  Bottom line…we need to have a permit.

The application process for the permit requires a bit of work from us and some from Pare Corp.  Both pieces should be submitted to the DEM by Thursday afternoon 3/31.  DEM has said they will expedite the permit application so that we should have it within about 48 hours of the completed application.

Once that is done, the trees will be cut, and then we will be raising the lake level.

Looking forward to the first boat ride of the season!


Phil Viall, for the Dam Committee.