“According to our hydro engineers, we reached summer pool of 465 feet on June 7, and we were able to maintain the lake at full pool for most of June,” said Alyson Fuqua, spokeswoman for Alabama Power Company.
Fuqua said “full summer pool” is a relative term.
“What everyone considers full summer pool is 465 feet, but according to our hydro engineers there is a normal flux from 464.5 to 465 feet,” she said. “When we hit the last week in June and had the string of record-setting hot weather across the state, the lake dropped below that full pool range and we haven’t gotten back to it yet.”
Fuqua said there was a lot of rain in the forecast, but the area hasn’t received the heavy soaking rains that were anticipated.
“We are still hopeful that under the right conditions the lake will return to full summer pool this summer,” she said.
Fuqua said Alabama Power Company has a drought plan in place under the federal license.
“We are following that plan and have reduced flows downstream at this time,” she said. “That is all we are able to do at this time.”
Fuqua said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently working on the new Reservoir Regulation Manual.
“We understand the new Reservoir Regulation Manual is expected to be released sometime in early 2013,” she said. “The Corps will not consider any of our submitted changes until that new manual is released.”
Fuqua said APC has already submitted a request to increase the winter pool level from 460 feet to 462 feet.
“It is too early to tell if we will request a variance for the winter pool level this fall,” she said. “It is so driven by weather, and we are working closely with weather experts because we must also monitor for possible flood conditions during the March timeframe.”
Fuqua said the most recent flood occurred March 12, 2011, when the lake reached 470.5 feet. Prior to that, the next most recent flood was Nov. 26, 2004, when the lake reached 469.9 feet.
“Tropical storms can quickly affect the lake level because of the lengthy soaking rains that come with them,” she said. “It is hard to predict when one will occur, but we have to be ready just in case.”
Fuqua said at 4:30 p.m. Friday the lake was at 464.22 feet.
For more information visit https://lakes.alabamapower.com.
Contact Elsie Hodnett at email@example.com.