SAVANNAH, Ga. – The three reservoirs operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the upper Savannah River entered Drought Level 2 as of 6 a.m. Sept. 19, when the level of the J. Strom Thurmond Lake dipped to 323.97 feet above mean sea level (ft-msl). When one of the reservoirs enters a drought level the other two also enter that drought level.
Any level below 324 ft-msl at Lake Thurmond or below 654 ft-msl at Lake Hartwell will activate Drought Level 2. Lake Hartwell’s level measured 654.81 ft-msl Monday afternoon.
Corps officials urge boaters to use extreme caution when on the reservoir. Rocks and tree stumps, normally deep underwater, will be closer to the surface, some just out of sight. These obstructions form a particular hazard in coves and along the shoreline. Boaters should use the main channel whenever possible. All reservoir visitors should wear a life jacket whenever in, on or near the water. Entering the water unexpectedly is a major cause of drownings.
Water managers for the Savannah District began coordination with the Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA) to reduce outflows from the Thurmond Dam to 4,000 cubic feet per second. They expect to reach this reduction by Saturday in order to give SEPA time to make other arrangements for electrical generation.
The Broad River, an unregulated tributary feeding the Savannah River and Lake Thurmond currently flows at 16 percent of its 30-day average flow. Should the Broad River drop below 10 percent, the District’s drought plan calls for further reductions in outflows from the Thurmond Dam.
The Savannah District’s reservoirs last entered Drought Level 2 in August 2011 and last climbed above Level 2 in March 2013.
~ Billy Birdwell, Corporate Communications Office