SOUTH DAKOTA Department of
Environment & Natural Resources

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Pierre, SD 57501
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Water Rights

Search for Historical Lake Levels in South Dakota

The surface elevation for many South Dakota lakes is measured each spring and fall.  Please note that these biannual measurements are not indicative of any annual high or low water levels. The measurements only reflect the level of the lake on the day the measurement was recorded.  In addition to your search returning surface elevations, some lakes have an elevation established for the ordinary high/low water mark and lake outlet which will be included in your search results. 

South Dakota Lakes

This map shows the lakes that have measurements of surface elevations. These lakes are denoted by the pins shown on the map.

To zoom in use the toolbar on the map or double click the map to zoom in and recenter the map. You can also move around on the map using the toolbar or by clicking and dragging with your mouse.

The markers on the map can be clicked to view the lake name and to access a link to the measured lake elevations. 

A search can also be completed by using the following county and lake name search boxes.


Click here to load this Caspio Online Database app.

Ordinary High/Low Water Mark and Lake Outlet Elevation

Lake ByronEvery lake in South Dakota has had an ordinary high and low water mark and outlet established through natural processes (precipitation, wave action, vegetation, erosion, etc.) which, in some cases, have been influenced by man-made activities as well.  However, the official numeric elevation of an ordinary high/low water mark and lake outlet is established by the state Water Management Board.  Some South Dakota lakes have these official elevations established and many do not.  When searching for a lake using the above search tool, any official elevations established by the Water Management Board will be listed in the search results. 

State law provides that all navigable rivers and lakes are public highways within 50 feet landward from the water's edge, provided the outer boundary does not expand beyond the ordinary high water mark or contract within the ordinary low water mark.  An exception exists for all lakes with ordinary high water marks established by the board prior to 1985.  For these lakes the public highway exists from the water's edge or ordinary low water mark to the ordinary high water mark.  While the public may use this strip of land for public purposes, the private adjoining landowner may also use the land for any purpose that is not inconsistent with the rights of the public.  For example, the adjoining landowner may exercise the right to graze and water livestock, to cut hay, or build a boat dock. 

If you have any questions concerning ordinary high and/or low water marks or lake outlets, please contact Lynn Beck at (605) 773-3352 or send an email.

For Further Assistance

I can't find the lake I am looking for... If the waterbody does not appear in the list, then we may not have any measurements for that waterbody. Please contact Lynn Beck at (605) 773-3352 or email us to confirm whether or not we have measurements available. 

I found a mistake in a lake level measurement... If you find a mistake or some other correction is needed, please contact Lynn Beck at (605) 773-3352 or send an email and we will fix it.

I found the lake but I have a question... If you have a question about a lake or ordinary high/low water marks, please contact Lynn Beck at (605) 773-3352 or email us.

I am having problems getting the search to work... Please contact Ron Duvall at (605) 773-3352 or by email if the search is not working properly.  If using a web browser, such as Firefox or Chrome, you may want to try the search using Internet Explorer.