From the Commander:
We’ve initiated our Drought Management Plan because our reservoirs on the Upper Savannah Basin have reached the first drought trigger level. This means we immediately reduced water discharges from the reservoirs.
I urge you to use extra caution when boating, swimming or fishing during the next weeks. As the reservoir levels decline, underwater obstructions will be closer to the surface. This is particularly dangerous for boaters and skiers. Swimmers should not venture outside designated swimming areas. All visitors should wear a life jacket when swimming, boating or fishing. Dock owners may need to move their docks to remain in adequately deep water.
Some people may think it is wise to retain as much water as possible in the reservoirs. However, to do so imposes a heavy hardship on many thousands of people who rely on the Savannah River. Below Thurmond Dam various municipalities, industries, counties, utilities, and wildlife depend on adequate flows of the river. These include the cities of Augusta, Ga., North Augusta, S.C., Savannah, Ga., and Jasper County, S.C., among others.
While we understand the frustration businesses and property owners around the reservoirs express, we must strive to meet all the purposes of the reservoirs as set by Congress. We also know that droughts end and the reservoir levels will return to normal. Water must be allocated during droughts to reduce environmental impacts and to provide project benefits for public health and safety.
I encourage you to access our web pages that monitor lake level web pages. You can find them on the left side of the home page at http://water.sas.usace.army.mil, and we will continue to keep you informed about our management of the Savannah River’s water resources.
Col. Jeff Hall
Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District