Alabama Power takes further steps to conserve water on Coosa, Tallapoosa, Warrior reservoirs

Variance granted at Harris Lake, requests pending at Weiss, Logan Martin

With dry weather persisting, Alabama Power has received federal approval to temporarily boost water storage at Harris Lake on the Tallapoosa River by one foot from the current level, beginning immediately. The company has also requested permission to raise the current levels at Weiss and Logan Martin lakes on the Coosa River by an additional foot.

These actions are in addition to steps taken beginning late last year to conserve water supplies on Alabama Power reservoirs as the dry conditions intensified.

The variance for Lake Harris will allow the company to raise the lake level to 787 feet. Normal winter elevation at Harris is 785 feet. The request for additional elevation variances at Weiss and Logan Martin is pending with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Alabama Power has also been working with state and federal agencies to reduce flow requirements from Jordan Dam on the Coosa.  A reduction at Jordan will help conserve water at upstream reservoirs on the Coosa system, including Weiss, Neely Henry and Logan Martin. The request is pending at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). 

Late last year, because of dry forecasts expected to last through the winter, the company received approval to reduce by 10 percent the releases of water from hydroelectric dams on the Coosa and Tallapoosa to conserve water. The company also received variances to temporarily raise winter levels at Weiss, Logan Martin, Harris and Martin lakes on the two river systems. Since then, rainfall amounts have remained below normal and weather forecasts continue to predict drier-than-normal conditions. The company is taking these additional actions because conditions continue to deteriorate in Alabama watersheds.Conditions along the Black Warrior River system are not as poor as in the Coosa and Tallapoosa systems, but Alabama Power is working to maintain Smith Lake at a higher-than-normal seasonal elevation to improve chances that it can be filled to normal summer level by April 1.
“We are taking additional steps now to improve the odds of raising all our storage reservoirs to full summer pool later this year,” said Matt Bowden, Alabama Power vice president of Environmental Affairs. “We are working with the FERC and the Corps of Engineers to do what we can to conserve water in the face of another developing drought in Alabama.” 

Alabama Power releases water from its lakes to meet downstream needs such as navigation, fisheries, water supply and water quality. During drought conditions, the company operates its hydro facilities with one purpose in mind: to manage the limited water resources in the most effective and responsible way.

Alabama Power will remain in close contact with federal and state agencies to monitor developing drought conditions and develop responses that protect water quality, wildlife and navigation to the fullest possible extent. The relevant agencies include the governor’s office, FERC, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and the state Office of Water Resources. The company will work to keep lake communities, the public and others informed about its hydro operations.

With the early stages of drought, the full impact to Alabama Power’s storage reservoirs is unknown. The temporary variances and other measures will be re-evaluated as conditions improve or deteriorate. Individuals with boats and water-related equipment and facilities should always stay alert to changing conditions and be prepared to take the necessary steps to protect their property.

For the latest on lake levels and Alabama Power’s efforts to manage through the drought, visit and click the "Lake Conditions" link on the left side of the page. Information can also be obtained by calling Alabama Power's automated Reservoir Information System at 1-800-LAKES11 (1-800-525-3711).

Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), provides electricity to more than 1.4 million customers across the state.