Forecasters predict little rain in the next few months to alleviate dry conditions, and Georgia’s lakes are showing the strain of the ongoing drought.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages 10 large lakes in Georgia. On Friday, Lake Lanier in north Georgia and West Point Lake in west Georgia were five feet below where they should be. Thurmond Lake in east Georgia was eight feet low.
Little rain means downstream water flows are suffering, for example in south Georgia and the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin.
“Flows have been historically low in the Flint River,” said Pat Robbins with the Army Corps of Engineers’ Mobile office. “They have received very, very little rain. And so to meet the required flows in the Apalachicola, the Chattahoochee system has been taxed to meet those flows.”
The Chattahoochee River includes Lake Lanier and West Point Lake, plus Lake George in southwest Georgia.
The National Drought Monitor shows the southern two-thirds of Georgia is in “extreme drought.”
Robbins said the lingering showers over the last couple of days won’t make much difference.
“You’ve got to remember it’s been so dry for so long that aquifers and other the other hydrologic things that cause creeks to flow other than just surface water are very dry,” he said. “So it’s going to take a lot of rain to recharge the hydrology in the basin.”
Robbins said it probably would take some sort of tropical system, like a slow-moving tropical storm, drenching the state to recharge aquifers and groundwater.
Meanwhile, forecasters say the two-year-old drought will persist – and possibly worsen – at least through July.