US Corps of Engineers Stepping Up Water Releases from NE GA Reservoirs

July 18, 2013

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia


Despite the two spillway releases last week and an increase in outflow over the weekend, Hartwell Lake is still over four feet above full pool.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Billy Birdwell said earlier this week that the Corps has stepped up its program of outflow from all three reservoir lakes in the Upper Savannah River Basin in an attempt to get them back down to full pool.

“We are bringing Thurmond down first, then we will bring down Russell down and Hartwell Lake down last,” Birdwell said. “We will reduce the levels at Thurmond first, then gradually work our way up to Hartwell.”

Birdwell said the Corps is targeting outflows of 15,000 cubic feet per second for Hartwell Lake the rest of the week, but he said that doesn’t mean the spillways will be opening.

The Corps will be increasing its power production as a way to reduce the lake level.

Over the weekend, Birdwell said the Corps kept the turbines at Hartwell Lake running to get the lake level down.

But according to Birdwell, it will be a long time before Hartwell Lake is back down to 660ft msl.

“On Monday, we actually had more inflow than outflow,” he said. “We had 13,500 cfs expected for inflow today and only 13,100 cfs for outflows. Even though we’re targeting 15,000 cfs, outflows, we’re still getting 10,000 cfs inflows or better for the rest of the week.”

Birdwell said that means the lake level will come down very slowly.