WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 09, 2011, 07:24 PM

Residents frustrated with rising Little McDonald

Several lakes in Otter Tail County are at record levels with water that has no place to go.

In three years, the water on Little McDonald has risen four-and-a-half-feet to now record levels. And Jana Haremza's white sandy beach no longer exists.

Jana Haremza: It's hard to fight, and so the water table is so high, it's coming up and we just can't stop it.

The Haremza's have rip-rapped their shore three times, already spending more than 20-thousand dollars out of their own pocket. Now they're looking at raising part of their home...another 50-thousand-dollars. But they're just one of many fighting a seemingly unbeatable battle.

Bill Norris: We're dealing with water that continues to go up, with no alternative other than to continue to go up.

Bill Schammert: Just three days ago, parts of this road behind me was almost a foot of water, but the township spent thousands to raise it. But that's not a final solution. Homeowners say the only way to get rid of this water is to find an outlet.

Haremza: We have a very short period of time before it over takes the land.

Across Little McDonald Lake, pumps force water into an already full sleuth across the road. It has no where else to go. A few miles away on Devils Lake, hope is all but lost as many sandbag dikes have failed.

Haremza: It just makes you sick, you can hardly, it's just hard to know what's gonna happen. It's our life savings, we put everything into this because this is where we were going to live in the end, so it's sad.