SAVANNAH, Ga. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, announces Hartwell, Richard B. Russell and J. Strom Thurmond Lakes are no longer in drought operations due to the recent rain events over the Savannah River System Basin.
Increased flows of 5,000-8,000 cubic feet per second will begin seen over the next week. The cold weather forecast for Thursday and Friday will prompt higher than normal releases to meet heating demands. All releases will be pass through the dam’s turbines generating clean, renewable electricity.
“The level at Hartwell Lake today was 656.48 feet above mean sea level, at Russell it’s 475.06 feet above msl and Thurmond is 326.32 feet above msl, which is just over guide curve,” said Stan Simpson, Savannah District water manager. “They will likely remain near these levels into January.
The increased generation will not have a noticeable effect to the recreation areas. However, officials continue to advise people to use caution when visiting sites around the lakes.
“For this time of year, the guide curve at Hartwell is four feet below full summer pool, which is 660 feet above msl,” said Melissa Wolf, Savannah District chief of natural resources section. “For Thurmond, the full summer pool is 330 feet above msl.”
Simpson went on to explain that more than two inches of rain has fallen on the watershed over the past two weeks and there will likely be more runoff than normal this time of year due to saturated soils, low temperatures, and less demand by vegetation. In addition, privately owned reservoirs upstream of Hartwell Lake are also releasing water due to the recent rainfall, and this accounts for additional inflow into Hartwell.
The Savannah River Basin Water Declaration for the week of Dec. 21-Dec. 27 can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/savannahcorps and at https://water.sas.usace.army.mil/GMAP/index.htm. To learn more about the pools and the releases made in accordance with the Savannah River Basin Drought Plan, visit this interactive schematic: https://water.sas.usace.army.mil/DAMS/.