WCM approved, new drought operations started
WCM approved, new drought operations started.
Within days of signing a Decision of Record for an updated water control manual, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers initiated new drought control measures on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system.
At 1,062.46 feet, the ACF’s largest reservoir was still about eight and a half feet below summer full pool of 1,071 feet.
Hopes for a rainy spring to replenish the lake in time for summer recreation went unfulfilled in March and most of April.
When the lake level drops to 1,064 feet, no water is left in the swim areas.
The recently updated ACF water control manual, approved March 30, includes a revised Drought Contingency Plan that initiates drought operations when the federal reservoir projects’ composite conservation storage reaches Zone 3 instead of the lower Zone 4.
“It is unusual to initiate drought operations when two of the three reservoirs are full, but doing so provides the opportunity to conserve water as conditions are expected to get worse,” she said.
The WCM requires that drought plan provisions remain in place until the composite conservation storage reaches Zone 1.
“These manuals provide the framework on how the federal projects in the ACF River Basin will be operated.” The manual, which grants Georgia all the water it requested from the ACF, has provoked the ire of Florida officials, who claim it deprives their state of water needed to sustain the ecology and economy of Apalachicola Bay.
The Corps also contends that the new drought operations plan will improve the resilience of the system during drought.