State officials have asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reduce the amount of water it releases from Lake Lanier, which provides much of the water used in metro Atlanta.

Allen Barnes, director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, is asking the federal agency to reduce flows below Buford Dam to 650 cubic feet per second through March 2012.

The request was made in a letter obtained by The Times of Gainesville.

Barnes cites drought conditions throughout the region as a reason for the request.

He warned that forecasts of below-normal rainfall during the upcoming winter and spring could have continued effects on lake levels, which are already sinking to lows that do not support navigation.

Tags: drought, Lake Lanier, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Georgia Environmental Protection Division, water levels, 2011 drought, low water levels