Lake Lanier and Fulton County Drinking Water Supply

The largest outflows at Buford Dam this month have been near 3,750 cubic feet per second this month, and lake levels are down three feet from full pool. In normal years outflow will dwindle to one tenth of that amount when lake levels are dropping or low. The amount of water put over the dam is managed by the USACE or the Army Corps of Engineers.

From Buford Dam, water from Lake Lanier is released into the Chattahoochee river that winds west toward the southeastern edge of Marietta Georgia before flowing through Atlanta. It goes inside the perimeter around Powers Ferry Road and flows through the north west quadrant of ITP Atlanta before exiting the perimeter to the west just north of Bolton Road. It continues to the south and west until it crosses I-20 near Fulton Industrial Blvd.

Lake Lanier suffers from a watershed not large enough to spread the risk of localized drought. Furthermore, rain has been between lighter than needed to adequate. Water also is being sent to West Point Lake, a reservoir south of Lagrange and north of Columbus Georgia. Near drought conditions in southern Georgia mean that less water is replenishing West Point and also, further to the south, the Walter F. George Reservoir.

Considering the contentious attitude of the USACE towards us in Atlanta, and the drought conditions to the south, the lake could be lower. While the courts and the USACE certainly could be less committed to slugs and snails over humans in the future, Atlanta needs to address the water needs long term with the development of another watershed. Frequently rain patterns reach but do not cross I-75 and thus never reach the Lake Lanier watershed.