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Lanier expected to reach new record low

Corps: By December, lake to be at 1,050 feet

POSTED: November 8, 2008 5:00 a.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Areas such as this near Clarks Bridge Park may be lower this winter than they are now. The lake is expected to drop below last year's record low.

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts that next month Lake Lanier could drop below its lowest water level ever.

Lanier’s previous record low was set Dec. 26, when it dropped to 1,050.79 feet above sea level. Normal full pool is 1,071.

The corps’ five-week forecast projects that Lanier could reach 1,050.60 by early December, and without additional rain, the level will continue to fall.

But corps spokesman Pat Robbins emphasized that these forecasts are based on current drought conditions.

"Climate forecasts indicate we could be returning to winter fronts bringing rain showers across the region by the end of November," he said.

Robbins said throughout 2008, the corps only has been releasing the minimum amount from Buford Dam needed to meet water supply and water quality requirements downstream.

"We have been fortunate that lakes in the middle and lower reaches of the (Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river) basin have had significant rainfall, which has provided the necessary resources to meet downstream basin needs," he said.

Last week, the corps held a public meeting in Gainesville to discuss updating the water control manual for the ACF basin. The document would set guidelines for how much water should be released from Lanier and under what circumstances.

Many lake residents still blame the corps’ management, not Georgia’s severe drought, for Lanier’s record-low level.



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