Water levels to fall again at Jordan, Lay, Mitchell Lakes; Boat owners should take steps to protect property
With drought conditions becoming extreme, Alabama Power is taking additional steps to meet its requirements for protecting water quality and navigation by further reducing water levels on Jordan, Lay and Mitchell Lakes. The lakes are expected to begin dropping by another 1 to 2 feet on or around Wednesday, June 13. The drawdown is expected to be completed within two weeks.
By utilizing some of the water stored in Jordan, Lay and Mitchell, Alabama Power can better manage the record low inflows to its Coosa River reservoirs. Despite the extraordinarily low inflows, Alabama Power remains under various government mandates that require the company to make certain water releases from its dams.
This year’s drought is shaping up to be the worst on record in Alabama. Streams that feed Alabama Power lakes are at the lowest levels ever recorded for this time of year. On the large storage lakes, levels are already 3 to 5 feet below the typical elevations for this time of year. In addition, “run-of-the-river” lakes such as Jordan, Lay and Mitchell, which normally do not fluctuate as much as the storage reservoirs, are also down significantly. Once the additional draw-down on Jordan, Lay and Mitchell is complete, the three lakes will be about 3 feet below their typical elevations.
During the past few months, the water released from Alabama Power reservoirs has been cut back to the minimum required by the company’s federal hydroelectric project licenses. Additionally, because of continuing dry conditions, the company indefinitely suspended weekend recreational releases of water from Jordan Dam.
Alabama Power must make certain releases from the lakes to meet requirements for navigation, fisheries, water supply, water quality and boating. Alabama Power attempts to balance the various requirements for water releases and lake levels to meet the multiple uses of the hydroelectric projects.
Alabama Power has requested relief from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to further reduce its minimum flows. The company has also asked that additional water be released from Corps reservoirs in Georgia. Water from those reservoirs flow into Alabama and Alabama Power reservoirs via the Coosa River. The company’s request to the Corps is pending.
With extremely dry conditions persisting, people should be aware that lake levels are going to continue to drop as summer progresses. Individuals with boats and other water-related equipment and facilities should always be alert to changing conditions on Alabama Power reservoirs and be prepared to take the necessary steps to protect their property.
For the latest on lake levels, visit www.alabamapower.com. Click on “Community,” then “Lakes & Recreation” and then “Lake Info.” Click on “Lake Conditions” for details. Information can also be obtained by calling Alabama Power’s automated Reservoir Information System at 1-800-LAKES11 (1-800-525-3711).
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