Policy change has lake level up

The Army Corps of Engineers will extend its temporary shutdown of flows through Thurmond Dam in ongoing efforts to preserve water levels in upstate reservoirs.

 

“We’ll keep it off at least one more day and possibly two,” corps spokesman Billy Birdwell said.

As of this morning, the drought stricken lake had risen 5.01 feet since Friday, to an elevation of 320.70 feet above sea level. Full pool is 330.

The dam’s turbines were halted Saturday after the corps determined flows in the lower Savannah River were adequate to supply water users in Augusta, which usually depend on flows from Thurmond Lake. Rainfall across the region averages 2 to as much as 4.7 inches.

“The reason we were able to turn it off was that, with all the rainfall, Stevens Creek and other creeks going into that lower part of the river were supplying the river’s needs completely,” Mr. Birdwell said.

Inflows are beginning to dwindle, meaning the turbines at Thurmond Dam may be reactivated Thursday or Friday.

However, once Thurmond resumes releasing water, the corps plans to take steps that will help Lake Hartwell upstream begin to recover, which could cause lake levels at Thurmond to fall again.

“Thurmond will be so far out of balance with Hartwell that we will probably get the downstream needs mostly from Thurmond to let the two reservoirs get back into balance,” Mr. Birdwell said. “By shutting off Hartwell, it will allow that lake to come back up.”

Once both reservoirs are approximately equal in terms of storage remaining, the system will again be rebalanced.

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Thurmond Lake pool levels:

Friday 315.69

Saturday 316.15

Sunday 317.22

Monday 318.68

Tuesday 319.93

Today 320.70

TOTAL GAIN: 5.01 feet

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