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To cope with heavy rainfall, corps releasing water 24 hours a day from Buford Dam
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Buford Dam sits at the base of Lake Lanier and is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Below the dam the Chattahoochee River continues southward. - photo by Scott Rogers

Releases from Buford Dam are happening 24 hours a day following heavy rainfall in the region of Lake Lanier and its watershed.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs to release water from the dam because six to eight inches of rain during the past 48 hours pushed lake levels higher than 1,073 feet above sea level, E. Patrick Robbins, Mobile District spokesman, said in an email. Summer full pool is 1,071 feet.

Robbins said the lake needs to maintain that level so facilities on the lake can operate efficiently.

“When the lake goes above that level, it impacts recreation facilities, private docks and marinas, as they are all designed for maximum operation at the summer pool level,” he said.

Joanna Cloud, executive director of the Lake Lanier Association, said the summer full pool level should be increased to 1,073 feet.

“It provides more drinking water supply for Lake Lanier,” Cloud said. “It helps increase lake levels at a time when we need it most.”

Water will be released at a rate of 9,000 cubic feet per second on weekdays and 7,000 cubic feet per second on weekends for the next two weeks. Due to those flows, recreation on the Chattahoochee River below the dam will be limited.

"People can stay safe near the dam by making sure they swim in designated swim areas only and practice boat safety,” Robbins said. “We are also asking that if you swim in Lake Lanier that you wear a life jacket.”

Lake Lanier is safe for recreational use, Robbins said.

Robbins said the lake should be back to normal summer pool level within two weeks if no additional rainfall hinders the plan.

Managing Editor Shannon Casas contributed to this report.

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