Lake Lanier Water Levels

{module Lake Lanier Conditions}

Lake Lanier Basics

Lake Lanier, a man-made reservoir in the northern portion of Georgia, was created by the completion of Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee River in 1956.  It is also fed by the waters of the Chestatee River, a river in the Appalachian Mountains of northern Georgia that begins at the confluence of Dicks Creek and Frogtown Creek in Lumpkin County.

The lake encompasses 38,000 acres of water, and 692 miles of shoreline at normal level, a “full summer pool” of 1,071 feet above mean sea level. At the dam, the lake is more than 160 feet deep. The lake is in Hall, Forsyth, Dawson, Gwinnett, and Lumpkin counties, split about 60%, 30%, 5%, 4%, and 1% respectively, filling the valley into numerous small arms and fingers.

Current Water Levels, Trends and Forecasts

Current year water level information, historical averages and four week water level forecasts as they relate to the Lake Lanier Action Zones.

Historical Water Level Data

The record low level of the lake occurred in December of 2007 when the lake fell to an elevation of 1050.79 ft, approximately 20 feet below its full level.The record high was in April of 1964 when the lake reached elevation 1077.2 ft, approximately 6 feet above its full level.

Factors Affecting Water Levels

Lake Lanier’s water level will rise and fall depending upon several factors including periods of drought or heavy rain, hydropower production, flood control, and downstream fish and wildlife management. Water supply is also cited as a factor and is currently at issue regarding the lake’s ultimate list of legal purposes (see Controversy section).

Effects of Low Water Levels

In addition to an overall unappealing look, there are many tangible downsides to low water levels at Lake Lanier. They range from stress on area businesses that depend on a high volume of lake activity to lakefront home values to how often someone in Atlanta may water their lawn.

Water Level News Archive

Browse articles relating to Lake Lanier water levels in our archive.

Controversy Over the Reservoir’s Purposes and Court Case Information

One of the main purposes of the lake is flood control downstream of the lake, mainly protecting metro Atlanta. There have only been two major flooding events on the downstream section since the construction of Buford Dam. The most recent flooding event was in 2004, after the remnants of two major hurricanes (Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Ivan) dropped huge amounts of rainfall across the area.

Watershed and Basin

The Lake Lanier Basin encompasses a relatively small section of North Georgia.

 

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