April’s showers bring May’s … full pools

Reservoir levels for Hartwell May 2016-Present.

After a mediocre March, April’s showers emphatically raised the Savannah River Basin reservoirs back to full pool.

As of today, Hartwell and Thurmond are hovering at full pool, while Russell is less than half a foot below. The last time the reservoirs sat at full pool was almost exactly two years ago. (You can follow the abysmal journey on the graph above.)

Building on February’s above average rainfall, Hartwell once again led the sub-basins, posting 5.8 inches in April (compared to its 4.6 inch average). Thurmond and Russell collected 4.6 and 4.3 inches (versus their 3.6-inch averages), respectively.

The saturated ground from February’s above average rainfall, along with relatively cooler temperatures and lower levels of transpiration, helped April’s extra rainfall translate into runoff despite March’s sub-par numbers.

March is traditionally the wettest month for the basin.

The current 10-week projection has Hartwell and Thurmond remaining at full pool through Independence Day.

This month, water managers will strive to keep the reservoirs as flat as possible for spawning season, which began April 14.

Flat pools are critical for largemouth bass during the six-week period because if the pools drop too quickly the fish will abandon their nests and their eggs will be vulnerable to predators from the air; if the pools rise too quickly the deeper water provides larger fish easier access to their nests.

The water managers’ actions this month won’t materialize for another three years when the fish eggs have matured into adults.

But the fish can thank us later.

After two years of drought, we’re just happy for some extra rain.

~ Jeremy S. Buddemeier, Corporate Communications Office

About U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District oversees a multimillion 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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