Water rises to summer levels

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Thurmond Lake rose to its highest levels since July after flows through the dam were halted over the weekend to concentrate the effect of heavy rains.

"The bottom line is that this gained the system about a half foot, just from bringing discharges to zero," said Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Billy Birdwell. "That does not count the continuing inflows, just the amount saved from outflows."

The rainfall, combined with the elimination of all flows through the dam, allowed the lake's pool to rise more than 2.5 feet -- from 316.15 feet above sea level Saturday to 318.7 on Monday.

The lake has not been that full since July 15, 2008, when the pool level was at 318.6, according to corps records. Full pool is 330 feet above sea level.

Mr. Birdwell said the dam, which was shut down Sunday, will remain closed through today. Releases of 3,600 cubic feet per second will resume Wednesday.

In recent weeks, residents, real estate developers, marina operators and others have campaigned for more reactive management programs that could help refill the reservoir -- or at least slow its decline during drought.

Limiting releases from the dam whenever there is adequate rainfall to keep the river full downstream is one such effort.

Heavy rains below the dam have provided ample water in the river to satisfy industries and municipalities.

According to Columbia County Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker, as much as 4.7 inches of rain fell in portions of Columbia County during the weekend.

"We had a total reading in Walnut Hill (Evans) of 4.46 inches from 7 a.m. Friday to 6:30 p.m. Sunday," she said, and estimates of rainfall at the Clarks Hill drinking water plant near Pollards Corner totaled about 4.7 inches.

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119 or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (17) Add comment
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Bacon Grease
330
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Bacon Grease 03/03/09 - 03:07 am
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Thank you Corps of Engineers!

Thank you Corps of Engineers!

Fishboy
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Fishboy 03/03/09 - 06:49 am
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It's up to 319.5 as of right

It's up to 319.5 as of right now. Most of the increase is due to the rain, not the Corps shutting off the dam. No management strategy will ever keep the lake full when we're in a drought that has been this bad. Rain is the only solution. Kudos to the Corps for trying something new, though.

lady30906
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lady30906 03/03/09 - 08:02 am
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I think it's ridiculous that

I think it's ridiculous that they don't do something to make the water rise more quickly. We aren't going to get enuf rain between now and summer to fill that lake up enuf so we can enjoy it this coming season. We own a boat, camper and jetski and don't even bother with the thought of going up there due to te shallow water, mud and muck. The loss of income this summer will have an impacct as well. Summer will bring another drought and it's gonna get worse, we should be able to get some water from somewhere besides rain!!!! Just last weekend we watched 2 guys get their boat stuck at a boat ramp that was OPEN! they couldn't even get more than 15-20 feet out and got stuck.

Bacon Grease
330
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Bacon Grease 03/03/09 - 08:30 am
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The Corps could have just let

The Corps could have just let all that much needed water through the dam. Dont look a gift horse in the mouth.

Why ME
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Why ME 03/03/09 - 09:42 am
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Thank you Corps!

Thank you Corps!

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 03/03/09 - 10:18 am
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The water at Clark Hill

The water at Clark Hill finally rose!?! Yay!

Unforgiven
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Unforgiven 03/03/09 - 11:44 am
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Don't count on it staying

Don't count on it staying like this. The Corps of Engineers will lower it before summer.

BakersfieldCityLimits
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BakersfieldCityLimits 03/03/09 - 01:19 pm
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Atlanta is king, many more

Atlanta is king, many more voters there, and their lakes will have primacy. Follow the money.

basinincrisis
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basinincrisis 03/03/09 - 04:06 pm
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Until the hungry moster that

Until the hungry moster that is SEPA is tamed, we will be sending water down over and above what is truly needed. In order to make up for not generating at Thurmond, over 10,000 cfs was let out of Hartwell in two days. This was to make up for the lost revenue that SEPA would have experienced otherwise. How much better off would our reservoirs and the Savannah River have been if we could have kept that water up at Hartwell to send down in the event that the summer as as bad as last summer? We should be treating this situation like as if we were lost in the desert with one canteen. It's called rationing! Sending down water for the sake of power generation and nothing else is incredibly wrong in a drought such as this.

Rob Pavey
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Rob Pavey 03/03/09 - 04:28 pm
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basinincrisis has a

basinincrisis has a point.....there are lots of other ways to make electricity, but the only source of water for the river and these lakes is Mother Nature - which we can't control.

woodsman
6
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woodsman 03/03/09 - 05:54 pm
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Have you looked at the river

Have you looked at the river today? - Leave that thing closed for another couple days at least - The river just below the pavilion is currently 3-4 feet above normal flows. As noted Tuesday at 2:00 pm - No rocks visible below the locks -

Riverman1
84078
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Riverman1 03/03/09 - 05:54 pm
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The river between Thurmond

The river between Thurmond Dam and Stevens Creek Dam has dropped dramatically today. It will be interesting what it looks like in the morning if they are going to wait that long before releasing from Thurmond. Columbia County draws drinking water from that portion of the river. Are they still operating as usual? This part of the river has low oxygen content, also. It is less than the recommended 10 ppm. It is around 5. Next year the new oxygenation system at Thurmond Dam will come online and hopefully will raise the oxygen to 10 ppm. I wonder if depending on runoff water from the recent flooding with zero oxygen content for this many days has harmed the fish in the river?

jasonpilgrim
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jasonpilgrim 03/03/09 - 07:34 pm
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Austin Rhodes has been

Austin Rhodes has been preaching this a long time!!!!

Riverman1
84078
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Riverman1 03/03/09 - 08:12 pm
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Rhodes has said one false

Rhodes has said one false thing after another about the lake levels. He doesn't have a clue.

Fishboy
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Fishboy 03/03/09 - 08:22 pm
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I'll second that, Riverman.

I'll second that, Riverman. But getting the facts straight is not his job. His job is to get as many people to listen to his show as possible, and this lake vs. river situation is a gold mine for him.

FedupwithAUG
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FedupwithAUG 03/03/09 - 09:33 pm
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320.15 on the last report. 4

320.15 on the last report. 4 feet in one storm. Maybe 2 more storms we will be at full pool.

MtnMan
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MtnMan 03/04/09 - 07:07 pm
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What????/ No "Pearls of

What????/ No "Pearls of Wisdom" on this article from PATRICIA????

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