Corps rolling out proposals for new drought management plan
Corps rolling out proposals for new drought management plan.
Releases would be slowed down earlier during severe droughts; Corps taking public input on proposal until mid-July Lake Hartwell users have until mid-July to look over possible changes to how the Corps of Engineers copes with drought conditions.
The changes in a draft proposal released this week by the Corps’ Savannah District office include reducing downstream releases during droughts.
“There will be more flow reductions, and we bring them earlier in the drought.” The actual release numbers recommended will apply to the Lake Thurmond dam.
The proposal calls for Thurmond releases to be 4,000 cubic feet per second during Level 1 drought conditions, 3,800 cfs during Level 2 conditions between February and October and 3,600 cfs from November to January.
Corps spokesman Billy Birdwell said the recommended option – known as Alternative 2 – “offers the most potential benefit and least negative impact … this one has the best balance.” The study states that none of the changes would upset local water supplies, economic conditions or the ecology of the 300-mile-long Savannah River Basin, which includes the three Corps lakes, the Keowee and Jocassee reservoirs operated by Duke Energy and the river south to the Port of Savannah.
Lake Hartwell sat at 653 feet above sea level Wednesday, some seven feet below full summer pool.
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“We’ve had a number of questions about water management from the public, especially during drought,” Melissa Wolf, chief of the Natural Resources Section for the Savannah District, said in a news release.
Bailey said his staff would get together with The Nature Conservancy and state officials to review that input, then submit a final plan to the Corps’ regional office in Atlanta for approval later this year.