Thurmond Lake fell to its lowest level since 2002 this week, triggering another set of restrictions on how much water the Army Corps of Engineers can release from the reservoir into the Savannah River.
Just after 2 p.m. on Monday, the pool level dipped to 316 feet above sea level – or 14 feet below full pool – said corps spokesman Billy Birdwell.
Although the milestone typically requires the corps to limit its releases through the dam to no more than 3,600 cubic feet per second on a weekly average, the corps has been holding releases to that figure for several months on a voluntary basis, he said.
Although falling to the 316 mark triggers Level 3 of the corps’ drought management plan, the public will see no real changes because the releases are already being held to a minimum in an effort to slow the lake’s drought-induced decline.
The last time the lake fell below the 316 mark was Sept. 6, 2002. Prior to that drought, the lake hasn’t fallen so low since Feb. 21, 1989, when the pool level dwindled to 312.91 feet above sea level.