Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley met on the Savannah River on Wednesday. The two executives and a host of officials from both states met to discuss water issues. But the only agreement to come from the meeting concerns drought.
Despite recent rainstorms, drought continues to grip Georgia, and water levels are dropping in the state’s large, federally run reservoirs. And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects they will keep dropping unless more sustained rains fall.
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. 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.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says an aquatic weed called hydrilla, first found in Thurmond Lake in 1995, now infests about 60 percent of the reservoir's 1,200-mile shoreline. The weed harbors a type of algae believed responsible for the death of at least 60 bald eagles at the lake.
The Army Corps of Engineers has raised the drought level on three lakes on the Georgia-South Carolina state line. The Anderson Independent-Mail reported that corps officials have reduced water discharges from the three reservoirs on the Savannah River.