Water levels at Thurmond Lake should keep water skiers, fishermen and property owners smiling for the remainder of spring and into the summer recreational season.
The reservoir, with a normal summer pool of 330 feet above sea level, was at 329.73 feet Monday. Because of ongoing work on the dam’s flood gates, the level is being kept about a half-foot below normal. Maintaining full pool should not be problematic, said Billy Birdwell, spokesman for the Corps of Engineers Savannah District.
“Around Memorial Day, which is the start of the summer season, we should be real close to the guide curve for full pool,” Birdwell said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers increased water outtakes most of the winter trying to lower water levels to the winter guide curve, or 326 feet above sea level. Above-average rainfall in December, in addition to saturated ground that started with heavy summer rainfalls, increased water runoff through the winter.
Although the Thurmond sub-basin received below-normal rainfall in January, February and March, water remained high.
“We couldn’t get it down the four feet this year, at least not consistently, because of all the extra rain we received,” Birdwell said.
In anticipation of spring rains, the winter drawdown is conducted annually to prepare extra storage capacity for rainwater. April 1 marked the end of the winter drawdown period.