Lake Lanier’s Drought Conditions Improve

Drought conditions have improved around Lake Lanier since March 30, 2017, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District (USACE) approved “a revised Drought Contingency Plan” that sent less water flowing through Lake Lanier downstream.

Lake Lanier has risen by more than 3-feet since April 1, 2017 and is up by over 4-feet since New Year’s Day.  That’s progress, but we’re still 6.5-feet below “full summer pool.”

Rainfall in June seems higher than the 1.38-inches reported at the airport in Gainesville.  Many areas have had significantly higher rain levels, especially in localized downpours.

On June 5, 2017, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District (USACE) said it will revert to “normal operations in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Basin.  Drought conditions in the basin have begun to improve.”

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Resumes “Normal Operations” at Lake Lanier

Here is the unedited USACE Press Release from June 5, 2017:

The recently updated ACF water control manuals, approved March 30, include a revised Drought Contingency Plan when the composite conservation storage in the ACF system enters Zone 1 along with favorable hydrologic conditions, drought operations are suspended and normal operations resume. In addition to the composite storage, recent climatic and hydrological conditions experienced and meteorological forecasts are used when determining the set of operations in the upcoming month.

USACE initiated drought operation April 4. Since that time drought conditions in the basin have begun to slowly improve. Near normal rainfall over the past two months, along with prudent water management, have enabled Lake Lanier to rise more than 2.7 feet to elevation 1,064.3, about 6.7 feet from the top of full summer level (1,071 feet). The reservoirs in the middle and lower basin – West Point Lake, Walter F. George Lake and Lake Seminole – reached their full summer levels.

Under normal operations, USACE will release a portion of inflows downstream which previously have been held in our reservoirs during the drought. “Initially, there will be minimal impacts within the basin,” Mobile District’s Public Affairs Officer, Lisa Hunter said. “Due to the lower reservoirs being at and near full summer levels we should be able to meet downstream needs with normal basin inflow for the foreseeable future. Releases from Lake Lanier will continue to be just for water-quality and water-supply requirements at this time.”

“By resuming normal operations, the minimum flow into the Apalachicola River to protect threatened and endangered species is no longer 5,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). The minimum flow is now a function of basin inflow, composite conservation storage, time of year and ramping rate,” Hunter said.

About Author

Robert J. Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life in Gainesville, GA.
Robert has two adult daughters, seven practically perfect grandchildren and a zippy Kawasaki. Contact Robert at [email protected].

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