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Low River Water Levels

By: Deborah Tuff
By: Deborah Tuff

The Apalachicola River water levels are two and half feet below normal. As a result the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is managing the problem through a tight discharging system. Locals say this is making the problem worse.

Brandon Thigpen says he comes to fish on the Apalachicola River every day, and may catch up to 20 fish. Thigpen says it’s rare if he catches one like the catfish he caught early Wednesday morning.

“Right now it's every now and then if you get lucky,” said Thigpen

The lack of rain has caused a recent drought. The drought has caused officials from Georgia’s Lake Lanier to cut back the amount of inflow dams below it receive.

One of those cutbacks is affecting the Jim Woodruff Dam, which dumps into the Apalachicola Bay.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bill Smallwood said, “Inflows into the whole system are so low that whatever is being discharged from up above is being sent out through Woodruff Dam.”

Ideally, around this time of year there are about 70,000 cubic square feet of water per second discharged, but now it’s dispersing about 7,000 cubic square feet, and that's up 2,000 since Tuesday.

“They won't cut the turbines on, and like the fish done got scarce and they are messing up the fisherman,” said Thigpen.

So now officials are in a wait and see mode. They say a good rain will fix the problem.

Officials say the tug of war over water distribution within the tri-states has something to do with the low water levels.

The last time the water was this low was two years ago. The worst drought was 20 years ago.

Lake Eufaula is also experiencing low water levels. However, Eufaula Mayor Jay Jaxson says Georgia’s water levels are 70 to 90 percent, while locally water levels are less than 50 percent.


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