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Corps slows flows from Lake Lanier

Heavy rains have raised lake level in recent days

POSTED: September 2, 2008 5:01 a.m.
This week’s increase of more than 2 feet in the level of Lake Lanier is the greatest rise in the lake in two years, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the reservoir. And it keeps rising.

As of 8 p.m. Thursday, the level of Lake Lanier was 1,055.69 feet above mean sea level, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Web site. That compares with 1,053.30 three days earlier. One year ago, the level of Lanier was 1,059.05.

The normal full pool at Lanier is 1,071 feet, a level that has not been reached since Sept. 6, 2005.

Lisa Coghlan, a spokeswoman for the corps in Mobile, Ala., said the full impact of the rainfall will not be felt until today, 48 hours after the rainfall ends.

"Friday will be the best indication of how much runoff Lake Lanier had coming into it," she said.

U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Gainesville, said Thursday that he was informed by the corps that it is not making releases from Buford Dam for water supply downstream following days of heavy rainfall that have raised levels at Lanier.

Deal asked the corps about discharges from the dam and was told that only the small unit, which releases about 600 cubic feet per second, is in operation for internal power at the dam.

The tributaries below Buford Dam that flow into the Chattahoochee are providing enough water for the metro areas. The reservoirs south of Atlanta are all full from rain over the weekend from what was then Tropical Storm Fay.

West Point Lake, which has a normal full pool of 635 feet, was at 636.09 Thursday. Lake Walter F. George, with a normal pool of 190 feet, was at 189.38. Woodruff Dam at the Florida border is at 77.67 feet, slightly higher than the normal 77.5 feet.

The flow from Woodruff, which is critical to Apalachicola Bay, has ranged from 28,341 cubic feet per second on Monday to 37,721 cfs on Thursday. The corps was maintaining a flow of 4,500 cfs prior to the rains.

There is indication of more water to come in the lower portion of the basin. The Flint River at Newton, south of Albany, was at 8.45 feet on Thursday. It was below 4 feet before the rains from Fay.

Georgia has been in an ongoing dispute with Alabama and Florida over the water needs of communities in those states downstream from Lanier in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin.



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