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.

At the end of 2007, the water level of Lake Lanier became notable, on a daily basis, for setting record low levels, not seen in over 25 years. By early November, the water level was dropping a fifth of a foot per day, with the largest drop on November 9 of 0.26 ft to 1054.08 ft.

The dropping water level slowed to 0.05 ft on November 17, 2007, after local rains and the reduced water flow at Buford Dam. However, water levels continued to decline almost daily during December 2007.

Further rains during November and December stabilized the water level at a low of 1,050.79 ft on December 26, 2007, with the water level fluctuating up/down by about 0.03 ft daily. On December 27, the water level began rising above the record low level, but fluctuating every few days, as effected by further rain and snow during December and January 2008. By the end of December 2007, alone, the water level had risen over a half-foot to 1,051.32 ft, rising over 3 times faster than it had recently dropped, and reversing more than 18 days of losses within just 5 days.

Finally, on February 18, 2008, the water level of Lake Lanier had risen back, above the record-low levels set in November, rising to 1,052.80 ft even higher than the December 1981 level of 1,052.7 ft, effectively reversing and ending the record-low phase of the drought crisis. As of April 21, 2009, the lake had risen back to 1063.39 feet.

Multiple rain storms further to the south, along the Chattahoochee River to Apalachicola Bay, brought increased fresh water to the Florida wildlife in November and December 2007, despite the reduced water flow from Lake Lanier at Buford Dam. Rainfall along the Chattahoochee River was often
greater than at Lake Lanier, spanning the much longer length of the river.

On November 22, 2007 the water level was at 1,052.34 feet, setting a new record low. The previous low was 1,052.7 ft, set in December 1981. The water level as of November 28, 2007 had dropped below the newly set record to 1,051.98 feet and still decreasing at 0.05 ft a day. One month later, the water level stabilized around a final low of 1,050.79 ft, recorded December 26, 2007 at Buford Dam, with the level rising or falling daily by about 0.03 ft, although a foot lower than November levels. The day after Christmas, the water level began rising from week to week.

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