Everyone with an interest in Lake Lanier and those affected by flooding around metro Atlanta have been asking the question: why does water continue to flow through Buford Dam despite the huge amounts of rain swelling the Chattahoochee and its creeks and tributaries downstream and the capacity of the lake to hold this precipitation?
Because of the virtual lockdown on communication with the Army Corps of Engineers in Georgia the only semblance of communication comes from the Corps’ Mobile, AL office. Area fishermen and concerned citizens that have spoken with the people at the Alabama office are in disbelief that the decisions are either influenced by or coming directly from that office when they don’t even seem to understand the severity of the rain event.
The Mobile, AL office of the Corps of Engineers first explained that the two main generators have been shut off and that a smaller units that discharges 600 cubic feet per second was operating to supply power to the Dam and some small electric companies in the area. They quickly backed off that statement and said the small generator was only powering the dam itself.
So now we know that it takes 389 million gallons of water discharged per day (600 cfs) just to power the dam itself. Corps spokespeople don’t even know if it is possible to shut off the discharge completely, which means that through the additional rains expected for this weekend the already stressed creek and tributary system downstream from the dam will likely continue to back up at the Chattahoochee.