Below-average rainfall trend continues through March; Corps monitoring basin conditions closely

For the last seven months, with the exception of December, the Savannah River reservoirs have received below-average monthly rainfall. That trend continued throughout March, with below-average rainfall recorded at the Hartwell, Russell and Thurmond sub-basins.

RainfallBarGraphMar2014The Thurmond sub-basin received the most rainfall out of all three reservoirs with a recorded 4 inches. That ranked 83.2 percent of normal rainfall for this time of year at Thurmond.

The Russell and Hartwell sub-basins both recorded 3.9 inches of rain in March. That equates to 79.7 percent of normal at Russell and 64.8 percent of normal for Hartwell.

Similar to rain patterns in February and January, most of the rainfall received throughout March came in short, concentrated storms. On March 7, it rained 1.3 inches at Hartwell, 1.5 inches at Russell, and 1 inch at Thurmond in just one day. This was followed by about a week of dry weather. Then on March 16, the basin received another concentrated rain event, recording an inch of rain at all three reservoirs.

Our water managers are closely monitoring basin conditions and are making adjustments to operations as necessary. Our most recent weekly declaration, issued April 2, calls for reduced outflows next week at all three dams. Next week we will target a daily average of 4,550 cubic feet per second (cfs) at Hartwell, 4,340 cfs at Russell, and 7,450 cfs at Thurmond. For the latest declaration updates, check our water management website at http://water.sas.usace.army.mil  and click the “Declarations” button.

April 1 marked the end of the “winter drawdown” period at the reservoirs, so we are targeting summer full pool throughout the rest of the spring and summer season. Fish spawning season begins in mid-April, so it will be critical to maintain reservoir levels with no more than a 6-inch drop in water level until spawning season draws to a close around the end of May. Stay tuned for more information about spawning season in a future blog post.

As always, we welcome your comments on this blog. Thanks for reading us!

~Tracy Robillard, public affairs specialist

 

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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