Hartwell, Russell, Thurmond Lakes no longer in drought level 2 operations

USACE, Savannah District
Published Jan. 12, 2024

SAVANNAH, Ga. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, announces Hartwell, Richard B. Russell and J. Strom Thurmond Lakes have come out of drought level 2 and are now back in drought level 1 operations due to the recent rain over the Savannah River System Basin.

For now, flows from Thurmond Dam will remain at 3,600 cubic feet per second. All releases from the three lakes will be pass through the dam’s turbines generating clean, renewable electricity.

“The level at Hartwell Lake today was 656.85 feet above mean sea level, at Russell it’s 476.31 feet above msl, and Thurmond is 325.16 feet above msl, which is still below the guide curve,” said Stan Simpson, Savannah District water manager. “Once the lakes reach the guide curve, we can bring them out of drought level 1 and back into normal operations.”

Considering the lakes are now back in drought trigger level one, officials continue to advise people to use caution when visiting the lakes.

“For this time of year, the guide curve at Hartwell is 656.4 feet above msl or 3.6 feet below summer full pool, which is 660 feet above msl,” Simpson said. “The Thurmond guide curve is 326.4 feet above msl, or 3.6 feet below summer full pool, which is 330 feet above msl.”

Simpson went on to explain that more than four inches of rain has fallen on the watershed over the past week and there will likely be more runoff than normal for 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 Jan. 10-19, 2024, can be found here: at Water Declaration.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/.

– 30 –

Cheri Dragos-Pritchard, Media Operations Chief
912-677-6039 (cell)

Release no. 24-002