US Army Corps of Engineers
Savannah District

Savannah River Basin Comprehensive Study

PROJECT NAME AND STATE:  Savannah River Basin Comprehensive Study, GA & SC

AUTHORIZATION:  WRDA 96, Sec. 414 (PL 104-303). 



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LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION: Flood Risk Management. The study involves a review of the current authorized purposes and operating plans for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hartwell, Richard B. Russell and J. Strom Thurmond reservoirs to determine if changes in storage allocations or operations are warranted to meet current and future needs for flood damage prevention and reduction, hydropower, water supply, fish and wildlife, drought management, water quality, recreation, navigation and other related purposes.  The original authorizations as well as water supply and cost allocations of the federal reservoir projects need to be updated to reflect changes in hydrology since construction, changes in utilization of the project purposes, population growth, improvements in defining sustainable ecosystem flow needs, changes in land use, and changes in societal prioritization of water resources throughout the basin.  There is a pressing need to examine comprehensive storage reallocation strategies to provide more sustainable solutions to water resource allocation throughout the Savannah River Basin.  The Savannah River Basin Comprehensive Study (SRBCS) is the best vehicle to address these issues.

ACTIVITIES FOR FY2017:  The District completed a Draft Interim II Study Report and Environmental Assessment.  During the public comment period, one of the sponsors (GA EPD) proposed a late change to the study alternatives to include the addition of 200 cfs to addresses impacts to dissolved oxygen during drought condition status in the Savannah Harbor.  The PDT and the sponsors agreed to adopt the GA EPD recommendation.  As a result, the Project Management Plan (PMP) was amended to include the additional modelling by the sponsors, an updated schedule, and funds required to complete the study. 

ACTIVITIES FOR FY2018:  Approve the PMP Addendum, complete Amendment #3 to the FCSA, request and receive Federal funds, and complete the Interim II Study Report and EA.  

ISSUES AND OTHER INFORMATION: A Feasibility Cost Share Agreement was signed in June 2000.  An amendment to the FCSA to allow 100 percent of the non-Federal sponsors to be work in-kind services was signed in March 2011.  Ideally, the authority would be addressed by a basin-wide watershed study; however, the high cost and availability of Federal and non-Federal resources resulted in the study being broken into smaller interim pieces.  The first portion of the feasibility study was completed in 2006 and revealed that current authorized purposes and operating plans do not meet current needs in the basin.  The study yielded a reservoir simulation model, derived basin inflows, water supply usage data, and an updated drought contingency plan.  The study was inactive from 2006-2012 due to a lack of non-Federal funds to complete the agreed-upon work-in-kind activities.  The drought that occurred from 2007 to 2009 increased the public’s interest in the Corps managing its three reservoirs differently to better address current needs.  This interest initiated the interim II study which will determine the minimum discharges needed to meet project needs, address needs of downstream users, and requirements to maintain environmental resources during drought conditions.  The interim II study will yield a comprehensive update to the drought contingency plan.  Future work will depend on the availability of Federal and non-Federal funding.  A new authorization may be required if congressionally authorized project purposes are significantly changed.  The interim II study sponsors are the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Environmental Protection Division (EPD), the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC).  


District Submit Final Report/EA

     03 May 2018

Division Approve Final Report/EA

     05 July 2018

ADMINISTRATION POSITION:  This study is consistent with Administration policy but has been a low budget priority.

ACTION OFFICER:  Margarett (Mackie) McIntosh                                  1 October 2017