Tag Archives: hydropower

Drought flow rates changed in February: here’s why

Many of our stakeholders have asked why outflow at Thurmond Dam recently increased from 3,600 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 4,000 cfs. Let me answer those questions and perhaps shed some light on our operational process. First some background: … Continue reading

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J. Strom Thurmond Dam, then and now

Eight years in the making, the J. Strom Thurmond Dam was a monumental task for engineers and construction workers in the 1940s and ‘50s. Archival footage in this video shows the steps they took to layer power plant fixtures as … Continue reading

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Commander: Persistent, below normal rainfall expected to impact lake levels

Since I took command of the Savannah District in June 2015 we’ve been fortunate to have adequate, and sometimes abundant, rainfall and inflows to maintain full reservoir levels. Beginning in January we observed below-average rainfall throughout the basin, yet were … Continue reading

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Listening to the pulse of the Savannah River

A soft breeze rustled the marsh grasses as James “Jim” Rothnie carefully placed a fresh canvas on his easel. Morning light sparkled on the waters of the ACE Basin nearby. Quietly, he crept closer to the dozen lounging birds, their … Continue reading

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November rainfall continues October’s precedent

November rainfall at the projects has already exceeded the month’s averages on the heels of October’s record-setting pace. To date, Russell outpaces the others by more than doubling its average of 3.5 inches in 12 days. Russell captured 7.4 inches, … Continue reading

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Corps tests gates at Hartwell, Thurmond dams

The Savannah District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted limited engineering and operations tests on spillway gates at Hartwell and J. Strom Thurmond dams, Aug. 25 and 26, respectively. Watch Thurmond’s gate test here. Beth Williams, project engineer for the … Continue reading

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Thurmond spillway gates receive a tune-up

Spillway gates at Thurmond sub-basin are currently undergoing repair on a number of areas where pitting has developed on the surface of the gates. The gates are armored with industrial grade coating, which typically lasts 30 years, to protect them … Continue reading

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Plant Vogtle water permit follows current basin water manual

Over the past several months the occasional fan of Balancing the Basin has voiced concern about the expansion of Plant Vogtle on the Savannah River. Most of the concern focused on the increased water needs (and impacts on reservoir levels) … Continue reading

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For Thurmond Lake fish, D-O is a G-O

Recently we received this comment about dissolved oxygen and pumpback at the Russell Dam: “As I recall, the Russell project was initially accompanied by much debate over water quality and fish. Has the addition of underwater oxygen injection resolved the … Continue reading

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Why is there so much fluctuation between the Thurmond & Stevens Creek dams?

Earlier this summer we asked readers what topics they want to read about on Balancing the Basin. Here’s one of many questions we received: “Why there is so much fluctuation of river levels between Thurmond dam and Stevens Creek dam?” … Continue reading

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