Watershops Pond in Springfield will have water reduced to prevent flooding

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The city of Springfield is moving ahead with preventative action to protect inner-city neighborhoods from future flooding.

Congressman Richard Neal and Mayor Domenic Sarno committed $2.5 million in federal funds to make certain the Watershop Pond dam remains safe for the foreseeable future and beyond.

According to a news release sent to 22News from the Mayor’s Office, the city of Springfield is beginning the temporary drawdown process for Watershops Pond, also known as Lake Massasoit.  The bottom of the pond is deeper than the low-level outlets at the dam; thus, a residual pool will remain in the deepest portions of the pond basin. 

The mayor told 22News, they have had to take these kinds of measures before.

Mayor Sarno stated:

“This drawdown is necessary to complete the much-needed resiliency improvement work for the Watershops Dam.  Since enduring two federally declared disasters in 2011, the city has initiated several programs related to community resiliency and disaster preparedness.  This project meets two goals set by my administration:  Removing the Watershops Dam from the state’s High Hazard category, and implementing green energy-efficient measures by installing solar panels at the Brookings School. In the future, this school can be used as an emergency shelter due to electricity produced by the solar panels.  Successful implementation of the proposed repairs will bring Springfield significantly closer to creating a more resilient community prepared to face the challenges of climate change.  I want to thank Congressman Neal for identifying and securing federal funding for the City for this vital and lifesaving project.”

Mayor Domenic Sarno

“The improvements to the Watershops Pond Dam will mean increased safety for residents living near this water source,” said Congressman Neal. “The project will address the dam’s “high risk” designation and minimize the risk of flooding in the future. The South End neighborhood will benefit greatly from this project and I am happy we were able to secure federal dollars to ensure it gets done.”

State Representative Williams added, “I want to thank Congressman Neal, Mayor Sarno, and the entire City team for their hard work on this project.  The drawdown of the pond will allow workers to not just clean the waterway from debris, including materials from the tornado, but will also allow workers to continue with their infrastructure improvement work on the Watershops Dam, which is needed to provide a safe infrastructure system to protect our residents and businesses.  Once completed, this will remove the Watershops Dam from the ‘high-risk’ designation.”      

Watershops Pond covers nearly 200 acres in Springfield.

Photos provided by Office of Mayor Domenic J. Sarno

The schedule for drawdown is as follows:

Target Date to Commence Drawdown:October 26, 2020
Target Date to Attain Full Drawdown:November 7, 2020
Normal Water Surface Elevation of Watershops Pond:154.3± feet above sea level (NAVD88)
Normal Area of Watershops Pond:192.6± acres
Water Surface Elevation of Residual Pool during Drawdown: 140.5± feet above sea level (NAVD88)
Area of Residual Pool during Drawdown:20± acres
Deepest Point Within Watershops Pond:135.8± feet above sea level (NAVD88)
Target Date to Commence Refilling of Watershops Pond:April 1, 2022
Target Date to Complete Refilling of Watershops Pond:April 22, 2022

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