By Billy Birdwell, Senior Public Affairs Specialist
When the right conditions exist and within our authorizations, Savannah District water managers exercise adaptive management. This past weekend was no exception as the water managers adjusted outflows based on observed conditions throughout the Savannah River Basin.
Weather forecasts last week indicated the possibility of significant rain from Tropical Storm Andrea. Therefore, on Friday we announced a change to the weekly reservoir management projections. This included an anticipated “spike” in outflows from all three Corps of Engineers dams on the upper Savannah River – as much as 20,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) from Thurmond Dam. As the weekend progressed water managers made daily adjustments to the declaration to account for the difference in projected rainfall compared to actual rainfall. In other words, when the rains didn’t fall as predicted, we did not need to increase the discharges as much as anticipated. Based on the less-than-predicted inflows from Tropical Storm Andrea, discharges from Thurmond Dam were only increased to 10,000 cfs.
We will target 10,000 cfs from Thurmond Dam only through today and will further reduce the outflow target in half (5,000 cfs) for the remainder of the week. Outflows from Hartwell Dam could reach as much as 13,000 cfs today but will drop to 4,600 cfs for the remainder of the week. Russell Dam’s outflow will drop to just under 5,800 cfs.
Water levels at Lake Hartwell and Thurmond Lake remain in the “flood storage” area. Managers plan to bring the reservoirs down to 660 feet above mean sea level (ft-msl) at Hartwell and 330 ft-msl at Thurmond during the next several weeks. We project we will remain at or near full pool thru the 4th of July weekend.
Enjoy the lakes but be safe and please wear your life vest!
As always, we welcome your questions.