Drought conditions worsen throughout Savannah River Basin and the nation

When it comes to drought, the Savannah River Basin is among the hardest-hit areas in the southeast region, but the nation as a whole is also reeling from rain deficits across the continent. Following are a few articles that underline the current drought from both a local and national perspective.

Local News:

Anderson, Oconee, Pickens now in ‘severe’ droughtAnderson Independent Mail – Dec. 11, 2012
“The Savannah River Basin is the driest part of the state, with counties from Oconee and Pickens in the north all the way down to Aiken and Barnwell in the south now in a “severe” drought status.” Read article

SC Drought Committee Upgrades Entire State The Edgefield Advertiser – Dec. 12, 2012
“According to Hope Mizzell, SC State Climatologist, since late September rainfall has been much below normal statewide. “Most locations that were upgraded to severe drought have received less than 50% of normal rainfall over the last 60 days resulting in deteriorating hydrologic conditions.” She also pointed out that the last time this many counties were in severe drought was winter 2008/spring 2009.”

“Stan Simpson with the US Army Corps of Engineers says the Savannah River is currently in their designation of level 3 drought status with roughly 41% of their conservation storage remaining, “Level 3 restricts Thurmond Dam to a maximum daily outflow of 3800 (cubic feet per second) CFS. The 2012 Drought Management Plan update introduced a wintertime flow reduction to our operations between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31. As a result, we are targeting 3100 CFS release at Thurmond Dam through January.”
Read article

Drought conditions deepen throughout the CarolinasAssociated Press as published in the Charlotte Observer – Dec. 15, 2012
“Most of South Carolina is now in moderate or severe drought, and all of the state’s 46 counties are now in some drought stage, according to the state agency that monitors the conditions. Drought conditions are moderate across more than half of North Carolina, primarily in the central part of the state.” Read article

National News:

Blasting means more problems on MississippiPhiladelphia Inquirer – Dec. 18, 2012
“Months of drought have left water levels up to 20 feet below normal along a 180-mile stretch from St. Louis to Cairo, Ill., fanning concerns among barge operators that river use soon may be dramatically restricted if not shut.” Read article

Climate Change pits Sioux against barges for scarce waterBloomberg News – Dec. 17, 2012
“Rivers also power hydro-electric plants, provide recreation for boaters and give coal companies inexpensive access to export markets with barges to New Orleans. Balancing these competing demands on the nation’s water resources has never been easy. Global warming, linked to near- record low water levels on the Mississippi River this year as well as last year’s severe floods along the Missouri River, is making the task even harder.” Read article

Low water on Mississippi River causes barge companies to lighten loadsSt. Louis Post-Dispatch – Dec. 17, 2012
“Barge companies are navigating through increasingly shallow water on the Mississippi, where months of drought have plunged the river to critically low levels. Barges are being filled to 50 or 60 percent capacity, so they don’t ride as low in the water and can pass through shallower channels. Therefore, it takes more of them to move the same tonnage. Read article

About US Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District oversees a multi-million dollar military construction program at 11 Army and Air Force installations in Georgia and North Carolina. We also manage water resources across the Coastal Georgia region, including maintenance dredging of the Savannah and Brunswick harbors; operation of three hydroelectric dams and reservoirs along the upper Savannah River; and administration of an extensive stream and wetland permitting and mitigation program within the state of Georgia. Follow us on Twitter @SavannahCorps and on Facebook.com/SavannahCorps
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