Drought Continues to Keep Lake Levels Low, Reports Alabama Power

Despite recent rains in central Alabama, the National Weather Service continues to categorize the drought situation in most of the state as either "extreme" or "exceptional."

That means water levels on Alabama Power's lakes probably will remain well below normal during the summer. Between nine and 18 inches of rain are needed in central and south Alabama to relieve the drought situation.

The Tallapoosa River basin is experiencing the worst drought conditions, with Harris and Martin lakes at extremely low summer levels. On the Coosa River, the Weiss, Neely Henry and Logan Martin reservoirs are at or near record summer lows. On the Warrior River, Smith Lake is approaching its historical summer low.

"In this situation, we want to keep our lakes as full as possible," says Andy Sheppard, Alabama Power's reservoir operations coordinator. "We release only enough water to meet navigational, environmental, water-quality and critical power generation requirements to meet high customer demand. We've been operating that way since mid-May."

Because of careful planning, constant monitoring and adjustments to generating schedules, these conditions have not affected the company's ability to meet customer demand for power. Hydroelectric power accounts for about 5 percent of the company's generation capacity.

With the lakes at such low levels, people should be sure to take appropriate safety precautions. Boaters should be aware of shallow areas and debris. Property and homeowners should be aware of lake levels and take steps to protect private property.

Information about lake levels and generating schedules at Alabama Power's hydroelectric dams is available to the public through Alabama Power's Reservoir Information Line at 1-800-LAKES-11.

Alabama Power provides affordable, reliable electric service to 1.3 million customers in the lower two-thirds of Alabama. Alabama Power is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company , the largest producer of electricity in the United States and one of the world's largest independent power producers.

SOURCE: Alabama Power

Contact: David Oliver of Alabama Power, 205-257-2401, or pager,
205-521-2667, or dmoliver@southernco.com