Rains raise Thurmond Lake levels

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Thurmond Lake could be almost a foot higher by mid-January because of recent rainfall, according to the newest projections by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The lake’s normal full pool is 330 feet above sea level, but projections made in October – when the lake level was about 322 feet – predicted it would fall another 5 feet – to about 316 – sometime in January.

The outlook improved somewhat in November, when the forecast was changed to predict a pool level around 318 feet above sea level in January.

The newest projection, posted Tuesday, called for the lake level to rise to around 321.4 feet before starting to fall again.

Thurmond Lake is fed from rainfall throughout the 10,000-square-mile Savannah River Basin that also includes lakes Russell and Hartwell upstream. The regionwide rainfall totals reflect an 11.8-inch deficit for 2011.

During the past 24 hours, moderate rainfall fell in many parts of the basin, and also in Columbia County, where gauges measured totals ranging from 1.02 inches at the county water treatment plant near Pollards Corner to 1.75 inches at the Little River water plant off Hardy-McManus Road. A gauge at the Evans Government Center recorded 1.35 inches.

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southern2
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southern2 12/27/11 - 03:37 pm
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The Lord giveth and the Corps

The Lord giveth and the Corps taketh away.

David Parker
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David Parker 12/27/11 - 03:43 pm
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There will be water

There will be water

htj
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htj 12/27/11 - 03:48 pm
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Yep, that 1.75" on

Yep, that 1.75" on Hardy-McManus Rd. is really going to help the lake level.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 12/27/11 - 04:42 pm
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Isn't it a waste of manpower

Isn't it a waste of manpower for the Corps to be in the business of predicting lake levels? In the first place, they have no control over the rainfall; and in the second place, they have total control over how much to open the gates.

It's kind of like the Georgia Lottery. They have no control over how many tickets people buy, but they have total control over how much they pay out.

And it makes no difference anyway.

How about those weathermen at the Hurrican Center making their annual prediction of how many hurricanes there will be each year? Total waste of time.

bloviator
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bloviator 12/27/11 - 09:07 pm
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Laws on the books and

Laws on the books and downstream water users dictate how much water is released. The Corps is just the agency that the Congress tasks to open/closed the valve. Mother nature controls the the rainfall. The Corps has very little say in lake levels or river flow.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 12/28/11 - 08:51 am
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What we have learned from

What we have learned from articles in this paper is that the Corps is supposed to assure at least 3,100 cubic feet per second of water is flowing below the dam. If Mother nature is supplying at least 3,100 cfs, then why not shut the dam gates (valves) and allow the depleted lake to fill back up when it is raining on Columbia and Edgefield counties?

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/28/11 - 09:08 am
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When it rains, there is a lag

When it rains, there is a lag period before the Columbia County portion of the river rises. The water level there is dependent on tributaries running into it such as Stevens Creek. That gets more complicated because the moisture content of the soil will affect how much run-off actually enters the river. All that takes a few hours to happen. Actually during the heavy rain yesterday morning the river was not higher here. Later it did go up.

But all this goes back to the point, of maintaining consistent levels of the river it's entire length and adjusting the flow accordingly and precisely. If we had sensors the length of the river as the Corps has talked about that could be possible and have the effect of helping the lake, too.

Fishboy
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Fishboy 12/28/11 - 11:12 am
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"Thurmond Lake is fed from

"Thurmond Lake is fed from rainfall throughout the 10,000-square-mile Savannah River Basin that also includes lakes Russell and Hartwell upstream."

Actually, Thurmond Lake is fed by only 6,144 square miles of the basin.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 12/28/11 - 11:38 am
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That makes sense, Fishboy. I

That makes sense, Fishboy. I assume that the other 3,856 square miles of basin are downstream of Thurmond Dam. Is that what you meant?

getalife
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getalife 12/28/11 - 12:24 pm
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Also Little River Georgia

Also Little River Georgia side, Germany, Hart, Big, Rousseau, Grays and a few smaller creeks are feeding Clarks Hill from the Georgia side. I know it is a difficult task to keep the lake levels, but Georgia Power and others do it better in other reservoirs.

Fishboy
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Fishboy 12/29/11 - 09:52 am
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Georgia Power's reservoirs

Georgia Power's reservoirs are a LOT smaller and therefore MUCH easier to manage...

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 12/29/11 - 10:32 am
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Just because it is harder

Just because it is harder does not mean the Corps should not try innovative ideas like the one I posted above.

itsanotherday
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itsanotherday 12/29/11 - 10:41 am
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Actually LL, it isn't that
Unpublished

Actually LL, it isn't that hard to do what both you and I have advocated for years (old forum). When the upper river is above full, shut the gates until upper river drops back to normal level. Not brain surgery. They also should reduced flows anytime the lake is not at optimum pool.

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