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Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1 What is the purpose of the Water Control Plan?
Q.2 Who provides authorization for Water Control Operations?
Q.3 Why is a Water Control Plan necessary?
Q.4 What will the Water Control Plans consist of?
Q.5 Which laws mandate the updates of the Water Control Plans?
Q.6 What type of public involvement will be involved in the Water Control Manual update?
Q.7 How was the drought plan revised?
Q.8 How does the drought plan work?
Q.9 What tools of communication will be used to keep the public and stakeholders informed?
Q.10 How are guide curves and action zones at Allatoona impacted by the PAA?
Q.11 How is Carters impacted by the PAA?
Q.12 Are there benefits for Fish and Wildlife?
Q.13 What impacts would occur at the APC projects?
Q.14 What are the impacts to water supply?
Q.15 Is future water supply from Allatoona addressed in the manual updates?
Q.16 We understand that the State of Georgia and the Cobb County Marietta Water Authority have requested additional water storage to meet current and future growth. How will you address that request?
Q.17 Why would you sign a Record of Decision with such significant comments from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Alabama regarding water quality?
Q.18 How many alternatives were considered?
Q.19 How come Georgia gets to keep all the water?
Q.20 Didn't you elevate recreation over the rest when you changed the rule curve?
Q.21 Will you be dredging for navigation?
Q.22 What exactly does this alternative do for me in Alabama/Georgia?
Q.23 If water quality is degraded in a drought, why did you choose the PPA?
Q.24 Since you planned for a drought, what about floods?

 


 

Q.1 What is the purpose of the Water Control Manual (WCM)?

A.1 The operations at each federal reservoir managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are described in water control plans and/or manuals.  These manuals typically outline the regulation schedules for each project, including operating criteria, guidelines and rule curves for varying conditions; and specifications for storage and releases from the reservoirs. The water control manuals also outline the coordination protocol and data collection, management and dissemination of information associated with routine and specific water management activities such as flood control operations or drought contingency operations.

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Q.2. Who provides authorization for Water Control Operations?

A.2. The authority for Water Control Operations is provided by congressional authorization for federal reservoir projects. Below is a list of congressional authorizations that apply to the operation of all federal reservoir projects.

  • Flood Control Act of 1944 (P.L. 78-534)
  • Water Supply Act of 1958 (P.L. 85-500)
  • Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act of 1958 (P.L. 85-624)
  • Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 (P.L. 92-500)
  • Endangered Species Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-205)
  • Water Resource Development Acts

 

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Q.3  What are the authorized purposes of the projects?

A.3. The following are authorized project purposes and commonly used methods to achieve them.

  • Project Purposes--

    • Flood Risk Management (Flood Control)
      • Winter drawdown at several lakes
      • Store water in lake during event
      • Monitor downstream points
      • Provide notification to Emergency Management Offices
      • Evacuate water as quickly as practicable when downstream conditions allow

     

    • Navigation
      • Make releases to maintain a desired stage for navigators, navigation periods, and special releases during other periods.

     

    • Hydropower
      • Determine volume water available for generation on a weekly basis Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA) makes actual schedule within range specified by the water management adjustments as needed.

     

    • Recreation
      • Allowing recreation at reservoirs according to the Water Control Plan while maintaining downstream purposes.

     

    • Environmental and Water Quality
      • Support for fish spawning and other fish and wildlife conservation measures.
      • Provide release to meet downstream requirements
      • Provide gradual step-down of river levels where necessary
      • Provide minimum releases from reservoirs according to authorization language

     

    • Water Supply Storage
      • Provide water supply storage for industries and municipalities.

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Q.4. What will the Water Control Manuals consist of?

A.4. Updated water control manuals will capture:

·         Project/system operations refined over the years due to changes in basin hydrology and

          withdrawals/consumption that resulted from years of growth/development

·         Drought contingency requirements to account for new data and operational changes

·         Updated data reflecting current basin conditions

·         New/rehabilitated project structural features

·         Environmental requirements for water quality, endangered species and fish spawns

·         Procedures for capturing/using real-time data provided by additional gages and monitoring

          devices installed since last manual updates

·         Latest computer models and techniques to evaluate and establish guidelines for

          project operations.

·         Improved and streamlined methods for data exchange between the Corps and other agencies

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Q.5. Which laws mandate the updates of the Water Control Manuals?

A.5. Updated Water Control Manuals (WCMs) are compiled in accordance with statutory (Flood Control Act of 1944) and regulatory requirements (Engineering Regulation ER 1110-2-240, ER 1110-2-241 and ER 1110-2-8156), and in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and account for demographic, hydrologic, environmental, and technological changes that have occurred within the basins.  The Water Resources Development Acts of 1988 and 1990 also provide for public involvement of all interested stakeholders during the development of new or revised water control plans to reflect the current public interests within the basin.

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Q.6. What type of public involvement will be involved in the Water Control Manual update?

A.6. Public participation in the planning and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process promotes open communication between the public and the Corps and, consequently, better analysis and decision making. The public has been involved since the initial scoping process. A public review of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Draft Water Control Manual took place in March 2013. Another comment period followed the issuance of the Final EIS (FEIS).

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Q.7. How was the drought plan revised?  

A.7. Prior to this update, USACE did not have a basin-wide drought management plan. This update, building on the experiences of the Alabama Power Company (APC) and the State of Alabama following the drought of 2006-2008, includes a basin-wide drought plan composed of three components—headwater operations at Allatoona Lake and Carters Lake in Georgia; operations at APC projects on the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers; and operations at USACE projects downstream of Montgomery (Robert F. Henry L&D, Millers Ferry L&D and Claiborne L&D).

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Q.8. How does the drought plan work?

A.8. Drought operations at Allatoona Dam and Lake would consist of progressively reduced hydropower generation as reservoir levels decline. Drought response of APC projects are triggered by one or more of three indicators—state line flows, basin inflow, or composite conservation storage. USACE operation of its projects downstream of Montgomery adjust according to drought operations of the APC projects upstream.

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Q.9. How is navigation and dredging impacted by the PAA?

A.9. The PAA will provide for navigation releases, coupled with seasonal maintenance dredging to support commercial navigation in the Alabama River for a 9.0ft or 7.5 ft channel depth as long as sufficient basin inflow above the APC projects is available.

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Q.10. How are guide curves and action zones at Allatoona impacted by the PAA?

A.10. The existing guide curve at Allatoona was revised to implement a phased drawdown period from early September through December. Refined operations at Allatoona include the use of four action zones shaped to mimic the seasonal demands from hydropower and other uses as well and historic lake levels.

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Q.11. How is Carters impacted by the PAA?

A.11. The current minimum flow requirement would remain 240 cfs from Carters Reregulation Dam. Refined operations at Carters would include the use of two action zones to manage downstream releases. The top of the new action zone 2 begins at elevation 1,066 ft in Jan., increasing to 1,071 ft in May, dropping to 1,070 ft by Oct., and returning to elevation 1,066 ft through Dec.

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Q.12. Are there benefits for Fish and Wildlife?

A.12. The USACE will continue migratory fish passage operations at Claiborne Lock and Dam and Millers Ferry Lock and Dam. The USACE will continue to manage fish spawning operations at Allatoona Lake. Changes in the flow releases from Carters will also benefit the fish and wildlife populations in the river.

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Q.13. What impacts would occur at the APC projects ?

A.13. APC projects would continue to operate under their current Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licenses with specific operational requirements.  Negligible to minor impacts would be expected to occur to APC projects.

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Q.14. What are the impacts to water supply?

A.14. Existing water supply storage contracts would not be impacted. Such contracts currently exist with the City of Cartersville and Cobb County Marietta Water Authority at Allatoona Lake, and the City of Chatsworth at Carters Lake.

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Q.15. Is future water supply from Allatoona addressed in the manual updates?

A.15. The EIS does recognize that current water storage contract amounts do not meet projected growth and future needs. The Water Control Manual update process is not a reallocation study for specific projects.

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Q.16. We understand that the State of Georgia and the Cobb County Marietta Water Authority have requested additional water storage to meet current and future growth. How will you address that request?

A.16. A Reallocation Study for future water supply would be the appropriate methodology to analyze that request. The conduct of a Reallocation Study would not and could not proceed until the necessary funds are made available.

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Q.17. Why would you sign a Record of Decision with such significant comments from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Alabama regarding water quality?

A.17. Water quality is thoroughly analyzed in the EIS using the USACE approved hydrologic model for determining impacts to water quality. EPA requested the use of a different model targeting specific locations under specific drought conditions. The USACE analysis indicates there is a possibility of degraded water quality during extreme drought conditions.

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Q.18. How many alternatives were considered?

A.18. Eleven alternatives were modeled and considered during the process. The Proposed Action Alternative provided the best balance for all authorized purposes and needs within the basin.

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Q.19. How come Georgia gets to keep all the water?

A.19. The proposed action alternative balances all authorized project purposes throughout the basin. It does not attempt to settle or address the issues among the States. The settlement of those issues is between the States.

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Q.20. Didn’t you elevate recreation over the rest when you changed the rule curve?

A.20. No project purpose was prioritized over another in developing the Water Control Manual.

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Q.21. Will you be dredging for navigation?

A.21. Dredging of the Alabama River will be totally dependent on available funds.

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Q.22. What exactly does this alternative do for me in Alabama/Georgia?

A.22. The Proposed Action Alternative provides the best balance of project purposes given the availability of the resource during varying conditions (i.e., drought/normal/flood).

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Q.23. If water quality is degraded in a drought, why did you choose the PPA?

A.23. The EIS recognized in analyzing all alternatives that during certain extreme drought conditions there is a possibility of degraded water quality but it is very situationally dependent.

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Q.24. Since you planned for a drought, what about floods?

A.24. A detailed description of flood risk management operations is included in the individual project water control manuals for each project.

 

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