The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning to lower Lake Lanier by two feet over the next few weeks so repair work can be done on Buford Dam.
The Corps is planning to do work on the dam’s head gate. As a result, the lake’s full level will have to be reduced to 1,069 to accommodate that, officials from the Corps’ Mobile District said in an announcement.
This will be an extension of the drawdown that began Oct. 1 to get the lake down to its winter pool level.
“Currently at 1,071.1 feet, Lake Lanier is currently transitioning to the winter guide curve pool elevation of 1,070 feet,” Corps officials said. “The drawdown for repairs will lower the pool to 1,069 feet to allow safe access for repair crews at Buford Dam.”
The Corps will have to release additional water through the dam and into the Chattahoochee River to allow the drawdown to occur.
That means Gwinnett residents need to monitor water release information from the Corps to make sure they don’t get caught in the dangerous higher and swifter moving waters that will be present on the Chattahoochee as water release from the lake moves downstream.
Water releases can occur multiple times during the day. On Tuesday, alone, there were three separate water releases scheduled.
The water won’t be released all at once, however. The plan is to gradually release the water over a span of eight weeks.
The Corps hopes to reach the target level of 1,069 feet by Nov. 30.
The repairs to the dam themselves are expected to take three weeks.
Anyone planning to use the Chattahoochee River is encouraged to call 770-945-1466 before going on the river so they can be aware of scheduled water releases from Buford Dam and know when it will be unsafe to be on the river.