Originally created 05/30/97

Officials warn of steel cables over Savannah this summer



Boaters and fishermen using the Savannah River will encounter some unusual obstacles during June: steel cables suspended across the channel 3 to 6 feet above water level in seven locations.

The cables are being used to support equipment used in flow studies of the river between the Old Lock & Dam in Evans and the city pumping station downstream from the Interstate 20 overpass.

"We wanted to make sure people were aware of these cables, and that they will be a hazard to navigation," said Glenn Coyne, executive director of the Augusta Canal Authority.

The equipment suspended on the cables is being used in flow studies that will determine whether the city can divert additional water from the river into the canal, from which the city's drinking water is drawn.

The city already diverts half the river's flow - 2,300 cubic feet per second - into the canal. Pumps powered by the canal's flow lift raw water to a filter plant on Highland Avenue, where it's processed for consumption.

Under the city's long-range plan, an additional 900 cubic feet per second would be added to the canal's flow. But engineers must determine the impact of taking additional water from the river.

During June, the cables will be installed during daylight hours and removed at dusk, according to Jorge Jiminez, an engineer working on the project. Warning signs will be posted at points of entry to the river.

The data gathered in the studies should be compiled by mid1998, after a full year of study.