Tallulah Fall Releases Cancelled Due to Drought

posted October 22, 2008
by Mark Singleton

article photo 1

October 22, 2008


North Georgia Hydro Project
FERC Project No. 2354
Aesthetic and Whitewater Flow Releases
Lake Burton Winter Drawdown
Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Mail Code PJ12.3
888 First Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20426
Dear Ms. Bose:
As required by the “Order Approving Plan to Minimize Reservoir Fluctuations,” dated
June 23, 1997, we are writing to notify you of a temporary change in the water use
allocations from that established in the aforementioned plan.  
In our letter of August 22, 2008 (copy attached) we notified you of the possible need to
cancel the November whitewater releases in accordance with provisions of the license. 
The August 22, 2008 letter provides details of the license provisions that would allow
whitewater releases to be canceled. We are now notifying you that the whitewater flow
releases scheduled for November 1-2, 8-9, and 15-16, 2008, are being cancelled.  As seen
on the attached chart for USGS gage no. 021784000 on the Tallulah River, flows from
early September until today have been well below 95 cfs with the exception of  brief
rainfall events in September and October.  We believe that, unless significant, sustained
rainfall occurs on the Tallulah River basin above Lake Burton, the average weekly flow
will not approach the 95 cubic feet per second specified for the whitewater flow releases. 
Current weather forecasts call for dry conditions over the intervening weeks. 
Article 406 of the “Order Issuing New License,” requires that Lake Burton be at
elevation 1860 msl by March 1 and be filled to elevation 1865 by April 30 of each year. 
As seen on the attached U.S. Drought Monitor for Georgia, the northeast corner of
Georgia remains in an extreme to exceptional drought condition.  Also, the attached
USGS map shows the 7-day average streamflow compared to historical streamflow for
Monday, October 20, 2008, being much below normal.  We are concerned that drawing
Lake Burton down this fall and winter will result in water supply problems by next
spring.  This could affect the refilling of the reservoir in spring 2009 and make it difficult
to meet the other demands placed on this water resource.  Therefore, we are cancelling
the drawdown for Lake Burton.
We will continue to monitor the river flows and weather conditions for indications that
the scheduled whitewater flow releases and Lake Burton drawdown could be reinstated. 
Should you have any questions or comments, please contact me at 404-506-7033.


Joel Galt
Hydro Services Supervisor

Associated Rivers