Frequently Asked Questions

Collapse All Expand All
 Q. How high is the dam?
A.  The main dam is 192 feet high and 2,360 feet long.  Upstream slop is 1:2.5.  It was built of raw earth instead of concrete to keep costs low.
 Q. How many gallons of water are there in the lake?

A. 624,656,367,000 gallons (when the lake is at elevation 1070' MSL - Winter Pool)

That's almost 950,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools!

 Q. How much did it cost to build both Buford Dam and Lake Lanier?
A. Approximately 45 million dollars, not including the cost of constructing the lake's recreation areas.
 Q. How much water is released from the dam?

A. The minimum flow is 600 CFS (cubic feet per second). 
1 Cubic Foot = 7.48 gallons of water.
Water flowing at the steady rate of 1 CFS is equivalent to 449 gallons per minute or 646,000 gallons per day.

So at minimum flow, Buford Dam releases 387,600,000 gallons of water PER DAY. That's equivalent to 587 Olympic-sized swimming pools!

 Q. What is the deepest part of Lake Lanier?
A.    The deepest part of the lake is located on the north side of Buford Dam in the original river channel at elevation 911 feet above mean sea level.  When the lake is at its full level (1071msl) the lake at this point is 160 feet in depth.
 Q. What is the record high lake level? 
A.  The record high was in April of 1964 when the lake reached elevation 1077.2 msl which was approximately 6 feet above its full level.
 Q. What is the record low lake level?
A.   The record low occurred in December of 2007 when the lake fell to elevation 1050.79 msl which was approximately 20 feet below its full level.
 Q. Why was Lanier built?
A.  Lake Sidney Lanier and Buford Dam were built for the benefit of the public. This facility works to provide electric power, water, flood protection, and navigation while providing recreational opportunities to millions of users, as well as a sanctuary for fish, animal, and plant life.