U.S. Water News Online
COLUMBIA, S.C.-- The state of South Carolina has upgraded
the Savannah River basin to a moderate drought because of lower
levels in lakes and reservoirs and a decrease in groundwater levels.
"The decision to upgrade the drought status to moderate was
supported by the long-term rainfall deficit in the Upstate," said
Freddy Vang, the deputy director of the Land, Water and Conservation
Division in the Department of Natural Resources.
The Savannah River marks the state line between South Carolina and
Georgia for much of its length.
Vang said unless there is a significant increase in rainfall in
the next two months, river and lake levels along the basin will
continue to decline.
David Baize of the state Department of Health and Environmental
Control said that no water systems are reporting any supply problems
at this time.
State Climatologist Hope Mizzell said the "moderate" declaration
does not require any mandatory action by public water systems or the
But all water systems in the Savannah River basin should review
their local drought plans and ordinances, Mizzell said.
Both Duke Energy and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operate
dams along rivers in the state, have declared a drought is beginning.
The corps upgraded its drought status for the Savannah River basin
on Aug. 28. Both Lake Hartwell and Lake Thurmond have reached what
the corps calls "drought trigger level two," the release said.
That level recommends a water release of 4,500 cubic fee per
second downstream from Lake Thurmond; however, because of the
persistent drought conditions in the basin, the Corps has only been
releasing 3,600 cubic feet per second recently -- the lowest amount
that can be released without negative impact for downstream users.
"By reducing releases now, they are extending the availability of
water in the reservoirs," a news release from DNR said.
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