Press Releases

Corps Suspends Drought Operations on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin

Published March 1, 2013

Drought conditions throughout many areas of the Southeastern United States have begun to improve. Rainfall has been above normal for the past month throughout the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River system, which has led to increased inflows into the lakes and the river system. Under the provisions of the Revised Interim Operations Plan (RIOP), when the composite conservation storage in the ACF system enters Zone 1 along with favorable hydrologic conditions, drought operations are suspended and normal operations resume.

          “We have been in drought operations since May 1, 2012,” said E. Patrick Robbins, Chief Public Affairs, Mobile District.  “With all the recent rains the composite conservation storage in the basin moved into Zone 1 in late February which now triggers a return to normal operations.”

Lake Lanier’s level today is 1066.75 and is forecast to reach 1068 by the end of March; West Point Lake is at 633.04 and forecasted to be just above 632 by the end of March; and Walter F George is at 189.63 and forecasted to be just above 188 by the end of March.

The return to normal basin operations does not affect the current flow requirement at Peachtree Creek which will remain at 650 cubic feet per second until April 30, 2013.                                                          

“We expect, if there are no changes in weather patterns, to see a minimal decline in reservoir levels at West Point Lake and Lake Walter F. George over the next five weeks,” said Robbins.  West Point and Walter F George are above the guide curve and some of the extra water will be maintained in flood storage to assist with the spring refill period.

The short range forecast calls for a dry spell the next week or so and then a return to normal rain patterns.

          “At this time the long range forecast for the ACF looks promising.” Robbins said. “The drought monitor shows the AFC basin returning to normal conditions this year.”

  Significant and frequent storms events have recharged the basin hydrology allowing the return to normal operations.

“By resuming normal operations, the minimum flow into the Apalachicola River to protect threatened and endangered species is no longer 5,000 cubic feet per second (cfs).  The minimum flow is now a function of basin inflow, composite conservation storage, time of year and ramping rate,” said Robbins.




Pat Robbins

Release no. 13-006