Lake Thurmond still dropping despite rain

Monday, Aug 13, 2012 3:46 PM
Last updated 10:21 PM
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A deluge that saturated Richmond and Co­lum­bia counties didn’t help Thurmond Lake, where water levels continued to recede during the weekend.

According to the National Weather Service, most of the rain fell from south Rich­mond County north and west to Harlem, Grovetown, Martinez and Evans, with much smaller amounts above Thurmond Dam and the upper Savannah River drainage basins.

The highest month-to-date totals were in Harlem, which received 11 inches; Daniel Field, with 8.16 inches; and Walnut Hill subdivision in Evans, where gauges recorded 8.3 inches.

By comparison, month-to-date rainfall in the Thur­mond Lake drainage basin was just 2.8 inches and 2.26 inches at Lake Russell, the Army Corps of Engineers reported Monday. Rainfall in the Lake Hartwell basin in the upper part of the state has totaled 3.51 inches since Aug. 1.

Thurmond Lake began the month with a pool level 319.85 feet above sea level – more than 10 feet below the full pool of 330. By Monday, it had fallen 1.3 feet to 318.55.

Current projections indicate the lake will continue to recede, falling below 316 feet above sea level in early October.

Federal authorities have completed environmental assessments to allow changes in the Savannah River’s drought plan.

In addition to authorizing reductions in the amount of water released through Thur­mond Dam during droughts, the modified plan adds stream flow as a secondary drought indicator that can trigger flow reductions from upstream reservoirs.

All three Savannah River reservoirs have remained in Drought Level 2 – which limits releases from the dam – since Aug. 29, 2011.

RAINFALL TOTALS SINCE AUG. 1

Harlem: 11 inches

Evans Government Complex: 7.83 inches

Walnut Hill subdivision, Evans:
8.3 inches

Daniel Field, Augusta: 8.16 inches

Augusta Regional Airport: 6.95 inches

Thurmond Lake basin: 2.8 inches

Lake Russell basin: 2.26 inches

Lake Hartwell basin: 3.51 inches

Sources: National Weather Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Columbia County

Comments (12) Add comment
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Riverman1
84948
Points
Riverman1 08/13/12 - 04:03 pm
1
1
There's a note on the Lake

There's a note on the Lake Data website that says they are raising Thurmond Lake to 328 ft for "worker safety." I assume this results in reduced flows from the dam and is in spite of the drought. Keep in mind average elevation is 327 ft. Was this reduction approved by the COE along with doing required environmental assessments for the reduced flow? Who determined worker safety was undermined by maintaining the agreed upon releases in response to the guidlines? I've never heard of worker safety being compromised by lake levels.

Little Lamb
46405
Points
Little Lamb 08/13/12 - 04:23 pm
3
0
Rain

True, there weren't the 5-inch per day rainfalls above the dam, but the Corps could have shut the gates completely on Saturday and Sunday because the rainfall in the Evans-McCormick corridor was enough to provide sufficient river flow for Saturday and Sunday. They need to go into proactive gate closing when it is raining downstream of the dam.

Doug Duncan
346
Points
Doug Duncan 08/13/12 - 10:17 pm
2
0
Lake level

River, I cannot find the note stating the level raising to 328. Will you please give me a link?

Thank you!

yesiwill
79
Points
yesiwill 08/13/12 - 04:48 pm
3
1
Lake Russel

The big difference is that Lake Russel is almost full while Thurmond Lake keeps going down. Why?

Riverman1
84948
Points
Riverman1 08/13/12 - 05:16 pm
1
0
Riverman1
84948
Points
Riverman1 08/13/12 - 05:19 pm
1
0
LL, you are correct it's

LL, you are correct it's possible to close the dam if there is heavy rain just below the dam in Columbia County. However, if the rain is further downstream it's not possible because the sector upstream would have none.

yu nah ee tah
31
Points
yu nah ee tah 08/13/12 - 05:37 pm
1
0
The key to reducing flow when the river below Augusta is full

is Kilowatts.

Kilowatts is the key.

Power commitments to SCE&G and SEPA.

It, pardon my colloquial lapse, ain't gots nuthin' to do with DO or BOD.

Dinero, Kimo Sabe. The almighty dollar.

rmwardsr
525
Points
rmwardsr 08/13/12 - 06:07 pm
3
0
you are absolutely correct,

you are absolutely correct, yesiwill, I travel the Abbeville-Calhoun Falls South Carolina area once a month. and take a back way that brings me out between Lincolnton and McCormick, and I go right by the Russell Dam Overlook Road when I take this route, it is only about a mile off the beaten path, so I usually go look at the Dam just to break the monotony. The amazing thing is, there is never any water flowing through that Dam. And that is why our lake is so low and getting lower. I even took pictures one day to prove it.

itsanotherday1
43819
Points
itsanotherday1 08/13/12 - 07:10 pm
3
0
RM

The note field says the maximum pool will be 328 (instead of 330) while the gates are being worked on. I suppose that is moot now that the work is complete.

itsanotherday1
43819
Points
itsanotherday1 08/13/12 - 07:25 pm
2
0
As to LL's comment; the upper

As to LL's comment; the upper basin has gotten a lot of that runoff from ColCo and McCormick/Edgefield Co creeks.

The commonsense situation should be this: we know what the minimum flow should be in the upper basin to maintain minimum requirements downstream. The moment the lake drops below its seasonal max pool, the continuous flow through the dam should be dropped to minimum and held there until the lake rises back to normal. During heavy rains, it should be closed off completely ( except for contractual generating) until the river flows indicate the need for more water. Surely, we have the technology to monitor this and make adjustments as needed

Little Lamb
46405
Points
Little Lamb 08/14/12 - 07:51 am
1
0
Technology

Yes, itsanotherday, we have the technology to monitor this, but we don't have the will nor the work ethic to manage the gates during and after rain events.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 08/14/12 - 03:32 pm
0
0
Again, I'll be hitting the

Again, I'll be hitting the river up alot more for lake-related activities.

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