Balancing the river levels is a game of checks and balances

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020
News 12 at 6 O'Clock

A look at the 5th Street Marina. Water was already under the bridge and the river is expecting to continue to rise the more water is released from the dams.

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- The flood gates aren't opening but the dams are.

The reservoirs on the Savannah River are still feeling the impact of the torrential downpour from a few weeks back.

According to the Corps of Engineers, we received a month's worth of rain on Feb. 8 and then a couple of days later we received another inch and a half.

"We've still got more water in the reservoirs than what we would like to have." said Russell Wicke, who is a part of the Corps of Engineers.

The reservoirs at Thurmond, Hartwell and Russell are all almost at maximum capacity for floodwater.

For for the past week and a half they have been releasing the water downstream into the Savannah River. On average, the Corps released the water at 7,000 cubic feet per second. Because of how much water the area has received recently they have been releasing water at more than four times that number.

The river levels are matching this release.

"It's ten times greater than what people normally see in the river." said Wicke.

With the forecast being a steady rain over the next few days, this puts the Corps in a much better position to deal with the rainfall than a couple of weeks ago.

"Two inches of rain over five days is a lot more manageable than two inches of rain in one day." said Wicke.

For every inch of rain that falls, that is another foot added in the pools at the reservoirs. Currently the reservoirs at the dams stand about two feet below the max capacity of the what they can hold.

"The good thing about that forecast is the rain we get is spread out over several days." Wicke said. "So as it comes in, we're releasing it."

This means the water levels will continue to rise the more days it consistently rains.

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