Federal officials say they're lowering Lake Lanier's water level and increasing the flow of water downstream to ease drought conditions in parts of Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Officials expect Lanier to drop six inches each week at the current release rate.
The Army Corps of Engineers says it will release more water from Lake Lanier and West Point Lake because of drought conditions in Georgia, eastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. Weather forecasts aren't predicting rain in the region over the next two weeks, and more water is needed at Lake Seminole and Walter F. George.
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.
Some communities downstream of Atlanta are concerned about a recent decision to give the city 13 more years to finish court-ordered sewer upgrades. Atlanta has spent $1.5 billion dollars since 1999 on projects to prevent sewage overflows into rivers and streams. Originally, the work had to be done in 2014.
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.