|China Lake is a precious resource for the Central Maine community. Not only is a great recreational spot and a habitat for wildlife, it’s also the drinking water source for the Greater Waterville area. Please click the video or continue reading below to find out more about China Lake and what you can do to help keep it clean.|
The Kennebec Water District has used China Lake as its source of supply since 1905. China Lake, covering an area of 6.1 square miles and a maximum depth of 85 feet, holds about 31.7 billion gallons of fresh water. The intake is located in the West Basin of China Lake. The West Basin is largely undeveloped due to the Kennebec Water District’s ownership of these lands for over 100 years. This limited development helps protect the water from contamination.
As part of a multi-agency effort to preserve the water quality of China Lake, an update to the Watershed Based Management Plan was completed in March of 2022. This plan provides many high level recommendations to help restore water quality over the next 10-year period though addressing existing phosphorus sources, addressing new phosphorus sources, addressing internal phosphorus sources, education and outreach, building local capacity, and long-term monitoring. The full plan can be found below:
The Kennebec Water District also developed a Forest Management Plan in 2019 in conjunction with Comprehensive Land Technologies (CLT) located in China, Maine. This plan evaluated the current condition of the land around China Lake, outlined the goals the Kennebec Water District has for the land, and made recommendations on how to maintain the forest to protect water quality. To follow up on this plan, KWD hired CLT in 2021 to develop a harvesting plan for the South Peninsula at the narrows between the West and East basins of the lake.
These plans can be found here:
Three State of Maine laws help protect the water on China Lake to help the District maintain high quality drinking water. Chapter 67, Public laws of Maine, 1931 prohibits contact with the water in the West Basin and helps prevent the spread of diseases and other harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Chapter 120, Public Laws of Maine, 1969 prohibits trespassing on lands owned by the Kennebec Water District around the lake. This helps protect the watershed as a whole and ensures the integrity if the buffer zone that is so vital to water quality. Title 22, Part 5, Chapter 601, Subchapter 4, Article 2 establishes a restricted zone around the intake pipe. In this zone, designated by buoys placed in the water, there is no trespassing. Again, this restriction protects the water from contamination from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other contaminants but it also protects the vital infrastructure located below the water’s surface.
If you are interested in more information on the water quality within China Lake please review the monitoring data from Lake Stewards of Maine at https://www.lakestewardsofmaine.org/ or contact the Kennebec Water District’s Director of Water Quality at 207-861-4368.