Corps of Engineers launching new drought operations for ACF Basin
Corps of Engineers launching new drought operations for ACF Basin.
The drought that has caused Lake Lanier to drop well below its full pool level is now forcing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take a different approach to downstream water releases.
The corps’ Mobile District office announced it has begun implementing drought operations on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Basin.
Officials said they are cutting the releases from 12,100 cubic feet per second to 5,000 cubic feet per second at Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam at Lake Seminole, where the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers merge on the Georgia-Florida line to become the Apalachicola.
“By entering drought operations, the minimum flow into the Apalachicola River to protect threatened and endangered species becomes 5,000 cubic feet per second,” District Public Affairs Officer Lisa Hunter said in a statement.
“Provisions of the ACF drought plan allow us to maintain this minimum flow and store all available rainfall, when possible, until the basin recovers sufficiently to come out of drought operations.” The new reduced water releases were put into place immediately after a new water control manual for the basin, which allows the corps to start drought operations sooner, was put into effect.
Another reservoir on the river, however, is Lake Lanier, which has seen water levels drop from last May until this spring, bottoming out at 1,060.22 on Dec. 31.
That is still nearly nine feet below its full pool level of 1,071 feet.
Still, the above normal levels at two of the three reservoirs on the Chattahoochee, as well as the heavy rains that moved through Georgia this week, means there will be some lag on getting water releases down to 5,000 cubic feet per second.
“Because the West Point and Walter F. George reservoirs are above normal pool levels and normal rainfall is forecasted this week, reduced releases from the Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam will not occur immediately.” Hunter said.