Upper Savannah River Basin at Flood Stage Levels

January 3, 2014

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia


Heavy rainfall last month has put the Upper Savannah River Basin at flood stage.

Now the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is taking steps to bring down the lake level at Thurmond.

Corps of Engineers spokesperson Russell Wicke said in December the Savannah River Basin received above-average rainfall at all three Corps of Engineers reservoirs.

A new record was also set for December rainfall in the Thurmond sub-basin, according to Corps spokesman Russell Wicke.

“In December, we had a record breaking month for rainfall. We got 8.5″ this December and the record before that was 8.3″ in 1953”, Wicke said.

That’s 220 percent of what’s considered “normal” rainfall for the month.

Also in December, the Corps recorded 7.9 inches of rain in the Russell sub-basin (197 percent of normal) and 8 inches in the Hartwell sub-basin (156 percent of normal).

Wicke said the goal now is to bring all three reservoir lakes back down to winter guide curve levels, starting with Thurmond Lake.

“Right now our goal is to get Thurmond down to guide curve and so we will be increasing our releases at about 25,000 ft per second at Thurmond,” he said. “For now, we will be leaving Hartwell and Russell as is until we get Thurmond down to guide curve.”

The Corps will be bringing lake levels down by increasing water through the turbines and producing energy, not by opening the dam spillways.

Wicke said, however, Corps engineers will take their time bringing the lake levels down because they don’t want to waste energy the water provides.

He said the Corps is carefully monitoring conditions around the clock and will adjust operations as necessary.

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