Rain raises lake's level by 3.27 feet

Thurmond Lake has risen 3.27 feet to 317.26 feet above sea level since Nov. 25, when the Army Corps of Engineers reduced flows into the Savannah River in efforts to slow the lake's decline.

 

The credit, however, goes mostly to Mother Nature.

"We're still running a deficit, but the inflows up there have been good," corps spokesman Billy Birdwell said.

Average flows from the lake into the river are about 9,000 cubic feet per second, but during droughts, those releases can be reduced to 3,600 under provisions of the corps' federally approved Drought Management Plan.

On Nov. 25, when the lake was 16 feet low at 313.99 feet above sea level, the corps made an exception to its 1989 plan and further reduced flows to 3,100 cubic feet per second. Those reduced flows will remain in effect through the end of February, despite recent rains that dumped 3.7 inches in the region, Mr. Birdwell said.

Some lake-area groups want the lower releases to stay longer to offset the drought.

"We are asking you to please use any and all means and influence at your disposal to urge the state agencies and Corps and to continue operation with reduced flows as long as possible," Barb Shelly, a facilitator for Friends of the Savannah River Basin, wrote to members of the Georgia and South Carolina Congressional delegations.

Reach Rob Pavey at (706) 868-1222, ext. 119, or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.

THURMOND LAKE LEVELS

FULL POOL: 330 feet above sea level

NOV. 25 POOL: 313.99 feet above sea level

MONDAY'S POOL: 317.26 feet above sea level