Slow-draining Lake Andes causing problems

Local News

LAKE ANDES, S.D. (KELO) — We’re finally getting some dry days in KELOLAND, but some communities aren’t even close to being done with water troubles. 

While an official says the level of Lake Andes doesn’t seem to be rising right now; it doesn’t appear to be going down very quickly either. 

Scott Pick used to live in a rented cabin on Lake Andes. 

But now he can’t even walk up to the door. 

“There was a road through here,” Scott Pick said. 

The cabin succumbed to floodwater back in March. 

“I happened to be out of town on a weekend and the water got higher than the sandbags and then broke through the basement, completely flooded the basement,” Pick said. 

His neighbors’ cabins are surrounded by water too. 

The water is also disrupting traffic in the area. 

A stretch of highway east of town is still closed. Local officials say it may not reopen until the fall. 

“If it stays like it is right now, we’re probably looking October maybe where we can open up the road. That might be wishful thinking; that’s my opinion, but it’s a slow draining lake right now,” Charles Mix County Emergency Management Director Mike Kotab said. 

Less traffic means fewer people stopping in town. 

“Semis used to come through here when the highway was open and would stop and eat or stop at the dollar store or anywhere to get some food. We’ve seen the revenue and stuff go down. It’s hurt us a little,” Lake Andes Mayor Ryan Frederick said. 

Meanwhile, Pick isn’t sure he’ll ever live on the lake again. 

“This is not normal. This is historic,” Pick said. 

Local leaders say they’re working closely with multiple agencies, including the Yankton Sioux Tribe, to come up with solutions. 

Meanwhile, the water isn’t just affecting cabins and roads. 

Scott Pick is also the general manager of Randall Community Water District.  

He says a raw water line was leaking, so it had to be replaced today so no one would lose water.  He thinks excess water is one of the reasons it started leaking. 

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