Water-level discrepancies are baffling

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I have spent a lot of time on the river as a child and as an adult fishing up and down the Savannah River, so what I am about to tell you comes from many years experience. I know the water flow and depths of the river.

We have had some tremendous droughts over the past couple of years along with other states. Also, we sell power to other states by allowing water to flow through our dam. No other dams or lakes exist beyond our dam, with the exception of Stevens Creek Dam. We have had a tremendous amount of rain here and in north Georgia earlier this year and in the upper half of Tennessee as well.

So on one recent Sunday, my wife and I with a few friends road up Ga. Highway 28. It crosses the Savannah River, and to my amazement the river was very high. I would say between eight and 10 feet. The normal height for the fluctuation of the river is between six and eight feet. So I made the statement to my wife that the lake must have risen about one or two feet. We continued up Highway 28, and when we reached the lake the water was even lower than it has been. You can understand my surprise.

If we are all worried about having enough water to drink and to water lawns with, why would we be letting so much water out? Is it about making more money by selling power, or is it a total lack of concern or proper management? It drives me insane to see this happen year after year. Who is managing the water distribution and why do I see silt and mud running down the river? This can only mean they are letting it out as fast as it comes in, and for what?

Would someone please shed some light on this for me?

Dennis J. Russell Jr., Grovetown

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spotted_assassin
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spotted_assassin 05/05/08 - 02:21 am
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If you think that is bad...go

If you think that is bad...go take a ride up to Lakes Russell and Hartwell...They are just about at full pool.

I think we are the only one down over 4ft or more.

Doctor j. Dudleydoright
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Doctor j. Dudleydoright 05/05/08 - 06:35 am
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It is 6:06 AM came off the

It is 6:06 AM came off the Lake at 3:00 AM a little tired because of that and I am limited 1110 characters I will answer all you questions in shotrform but correct answers. 1. there is a law that states Lake Russell can only 3-4 feet. the water runs through R.B. Russell Damn Dam then it is pumped back out of Clark Hill. This defies the law of gravity. They say POO POO flows downhill so does water. You reverse the cycle with pumps. Well to make this story the real problem is the Army Corp. of Engineers. If you ask them they will proably tell you there is a leak in the bottom of the lake that they can not repair or we are lowering the Lake because Bin Laden is in a cave at the bottom. tThat is the answer to your question. Would you not like to be a retired Colonel and be able to tell your grand children that you participated in and won the battle of Clark Hill. Do me a favor please do not ask the question of how the Army got in charge of our water ways. That would be well over 2.3 million characters.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 05/05/08 - 07:15 am
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Lake Thurmond has had level

Lake Thurmond has had level problems since Russel was built. That won't change. There's not enough water to maintain three man-made lakes without exceptional rains.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 05/05/08 - 07:15 am
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There is a plan to all this.

There is a plan to all this. The Corp has explained it many times. The idea is to simulate the flooding of the river at times. Some days it is intentionally flooded while on other days it is allowed to be very low. It all evens out. The flooding has a beneficial effect on the wetlands and wildlife along the river.

UncleBill
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UncleBill 05/05/08 - 07:34 am
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At the point where SR 28

At the point where SR 28 Furys Ferry Rd crosses the river, I think you are still within the realm of the pool held behind Stephens Creek Dam. In that area the river will not flucuate so much. We are still in a terrible drought. On my daily walking path there is a seep in an embankment by the road that runs all the time, except in the dryest and hottest month of the year, resulting in a constant stream down the ditch. It is dry now. Looks like a tough summer coming.

dashiel
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dashiel 05/05/08 - 07:49 am
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While the Chronicle was so

While the Chronicle was so busy hating him, Jimmy Carter was the first leader to speak out against constructing so many dams. He was a friend to Georgia's rivers long before it was cool and he even managed to stop plans to dam Georgia's only remaining wild river. Mr. Russell raises some very good points based on actual observations. The Army Corps of Engineers is a self-perpetuating bureaucracy and any river's worst nightmare.

2tired2argueanymore
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2tired2argueanymore 05/05/08 - 07:50 am
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Doesn't really matter, the

Doesn't really matter, the lake is low and it will be lower come summer. Possibly this year will be one of the lowest levels yet. The only thing that might change that is a flash flood of rain or the dam malfunctions and the corp can't release the water. Come this summer when peak demands hit for electricity the water isn't going to be there because we failed to try and build the levels during the peak rain time.

I4PUTT
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I4PUTT 05/05/08 - 08:14 am
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spotted_assassin You are

spotted_assassin You are wrong about Lake Hartwell. It is so low that the Corps has closed many boat ramps and lake front homes are no longer on the water. In my area we have offered to maintain the area where the boat ramp is in order to keep it open. The Corps has a way of never reopening areas once they're closed.

convertedsoutherner
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convertedsoutherner 05/05/08 - 08:58 am
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At the meetings that were

At the meetings that were held 2 or 3 yrs ago, they always had someone there that talked the feel-good speech. They said everything to try to please everyone. They've been having floods up north. Where are the solutions?

getalife
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getalife 05/05/08 - 10:30 am
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Lake Hartwell is 10-12 feet

Lake Hartwell is 10-12 feet low and Clarks Hill is maybe 8-10 feet low. With Lake Russell being able to use the reverse turbines, they can keep that lake full all of the time and much of the water that once flowed to Clarks Hill is reversed back into Lake Russell. Ever since Lake Russell was created Clarks Hill has had a problem.

Lou Stewall
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Lou Stewall 05/05/08 - 04:22 pm
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The corps is operating by a

The corps is operating by a 1950's handbook that requires waters below Augusta to be "navigable" for commercial traffic. The last commercial ship arrived in 1979. The cost of low lake levels is incalculable. Both Hartwell and Thurmond are down about 8 ft. 2tired, you are right about the lakes being gone this summer. Half a foot a week in a drought. We could se 30 ft. down, easily. NC's lakes are full. [filtered word]?

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