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Lake level rising with rain

BUFORD -- Days of rain have brought a big benefit to north Georgia: more water to fill Lake Lanier.

In just three days, the lake rose a foot and a half, adding on to big gains made since a low was set Dec. 19.

Thursday morning, natural resources specialist Jack Taylor of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers measured the lake at 1,060.25 feet above sea level. That is nearly four feet from the low measurement last month.

"The significant big chunks were in the last few days," Taylor said. "We're giddy."

At the end of the year, the corps, which manages the body of water, drastically reduced the amount released daily from Buford Dam. Taylor said the change has coupled with the rain for big results in restoring the lake to its full elevation of 1,071 feet above sea level.

That is good news for Gwinnett, which relies on the lake for drinking water, said Deputy Water Resources Director Ron Peters.

"I can hardly remember when it's rained this long, but I'm glad to see it," Peters said. "We're happy to see the lake come up."

Taylor said he is glad to see it as well.

"Last year, it started out the same way, and we thought we were going to fill up," he said, adding that the weather changed and stopped that. "Of course, (this year) we hope it will keep going."