Workshops planned to address receding Savannah River reservoirs

As water levels continue to recede, the Army Corps of Engineers is planning a series of workshops to offer curious residents detailed information about how the Savannah River reservoirs are managed and balanced.

“We will have displays set up for people to look at, and give people an opportunity to discuss issues and ask questions with subject matter experts,” said Billy Birdwell, the corps spokesman for the Savannah District. “The topics will include hydropower and water management and water safety, too.”

The first workshop will be Oct. 24 at McCormick Middle School in McCormick, S.C., Birdwell said. The hours are likely to be late afternoon to early evening but have not been set.

In addition to corps experts and information, other resource agencies associated with the lakes and water management will be invited to participate.

Thurmond Lake’s surface elevation Friday was 316.9 feet above sea level, or more than 13 feet below full pool. Projections call for the reservoir to fall below 316 feet in early December unless widespread and sustained rainfall develops.

Residents concerned about the low lakes and the effects of drought on real estate, the recreational industry and the environment should plan to attend the workshops, said Barb Shelley, a facilitator for the Friends of the Savannah River Basin stakeholder group.

“We really feel it’s important to show our numbers and to be prepared to ask questions,” she said.

An additional workshop will be held Oct. 25 in Anderson, S.C., but the time and location have not been set.

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