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The Pump

Keeping the Water in Big Lake!

The Big Lake Pump

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What is the Pump?

The Big Lake Improvement Association is committed to improving the beauty and quality of life in the local area, with its main goal being to maintain consistent lake levels, especially during times of drought.

  The Pump is our main resource for maintaining the desired water level should mother nature choose to withhold rain. 



Why is a pump needed?

For those new to the lake, it may be hard to believe in many years, we need to pump water into Big Lake from the Missouri River to keep it full for everyone to enjoy all season. Prior to the efforts of the  BLIA & its members Big Lake saw years of severe drought leaving the lake almost unusable. 

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The Cost of Operating

By donating to the pump fund, you are supporting activities such as maintaining the pump, tubes and ditches, and purchasing diesel fuel for the pump keeping the lake at the desired water level for everyone to enjoy.

In 2018, we spent over $18,000 on pump fees primarily for diesel fuel. Non-paid volunteers donate their time to ensure the pump runs smoothly. If you are interested in volunteering to help with the Big Lake pump email us at

Pump Improvement Project 2023

We are excited to announce the arrival of our new tube, which will replace the one that failed and caused the sinkhole in the levee. This 90-foot long, 8-foot in diameter, 1/2” thick steel tube weighs approximately 450 pounds per foot. Our team worked hard to weld the two pieces together and soon we will be pumping water into the lake.

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In this video, watch as To The Top Crane uses the Tadano 180g -5 to set the drainage pipe. This pipe is used to control the levels in Big Lake that is adjacent to the Missouri River. As the river rises, the pipe can be opened or closed to allow the water level in the lake to be controlled. During the flood of 2019, the old pipe was nearly washed out. Given this, it was decided that a new pipe should be installed through the riverbank.

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The Pump Fund

With today’s high fuel prices, meeting the costs to run and maintain the system is an ongoing
challenge for homeowners and lake supporters.


The BLIA continues to seek additional funds from the Missouri Department of Conservation and other sources. You can help through your tax-deductible BLIA membership fees and donations to the Pump Fund, and by supporting our annual fund-raising events.


Pump Guidelines

The BLIA follows self-established guidelines when it comes to pumping water into the lake. The Missouri River should be at a certain level  in order for Big Lake to efficiently pump water from the river into the lake.  We will continue to share information on pumping procedures here in the future. Visit back often for updates!

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Our Pledge

The BLIA is dedicated to preserving the lake for recreational activities. Our pledge to our members is a full lake on Memorial Day, 4th of July & Labor Day. Donate today and help ensure that Big Lake remains recreational for years to come!

A Post From the BLIA Newsletter in August 2018

"It has taken many days of pumping to keep the lake full this summer. So far, $17,893 is the cost of diesel fuel that has been used to keep the pump running. With the help of Mother Nature, our lake is full to the brim. Thank you to everyone who supports our pump fund by becoming members of BLIA, buying and wearing Big Lake clothing, purchasing fireworks, teeing off at the annual Golf Tournament and making donations to the BLIA pump fund. We appreciate your generous support."

The Evolution of the Big Lake Pump

First Pump Construction Begins

Fall 2003
Historic Drought

March 2004
BLIA & The Village Join Forces

As the area recovered from the 1952 flood, a group of residents and lake supporters banded together in 1956 in a bid to keep Big Lake thriving. The BLIA was born. It was the start of a tradition of community spirit and volunteerism that would serve Big Lake well in the years ahead. In 1958 the BLIA led efforts to construct a dam at the south end of the lake and to install the first river pump station.

Serious drought and an aging dam and pump station led to critically low lake levels by the fall of 2003. Fish were dying by the thousands, boats were stranded at dry docks, and lake activity came to a standstill.

In an effort to save the lake, the BLIA and the Village of Big Lake launched a joint venture to build a new pump station. Funded by a temporary tax levy and generous donations from homeowners, the $100,000+ diesel-powered station would enable pumping water both to and from the lake through a series of tubes and gates.

April 2004
The New Pump 

Flood Repairs

On April 14, 2004 Big Lakers turned out to cheer as crews fired up the new pump and sent fresh river water flowing to the lake. Roughly two months later, Big Lake was once again brimfull.

2019 saw historical flooding across the midwest. The impact on Big Lake was devastating. The Pump sustained substantial damage during the flood of 2019. Thanks to our volunteers & members repairs were made and the pump is back in working order.

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