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Students Watching as Lake Lanier Still Filling Up

Just 3 months ago at the end of November, Lake Lanier was very close to it’s record low of 1,050.81 feet. It got all the way down to 1,051.35 feet just 1/2 a foot away from the record.

Many students from surrounding colleges have been tracking the local lake’s levels to gauge how much of an impact the water shortage has had – even students at a local hospitality school were paying attention, since this sort of scare can affect tourism as well.

Since November there has been a solid amount of precipitation (even snow) that have helped fill the lake up to 1,057.45 feet as of March 1st, 2009. That is an increase of 6 feet in a short amount of time and a good start to 2009 for Lake Lanier.

60 Day Graph

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71 Responses to “Students Watching as Lake Lanier Still Filling Up”

  1. dipchip Says:

    Today March 2 at 6 pm Lake Lanier has achieved the level of 1057.80 feet this is the peak level achieved last year on May 18 at 11 pm.

  2. Tommy Says:

    Of course it is always a worrying situation when one finds out that the water levels of any lake are on the decline. the fact that Lake Lanier has proven to be filling up and the water levels are on the up is excellent, lets hope that it continues to fill up for the long term.

  3. dipchip Says:

    Last year on March 3 the lake was at 1053.40, 4.40 feet lower than today. So there is a good possability the lake could rise to 1062.2 by the middle of May.

  4. dipchip Says:

    In 2007 the lake peak level occured on 15 April 15 at 1068.50

  5. rkolter Says:

    While the lake is up a bit over four feet from last year at this time, it is still down a bit over ten feet from where it normally sits this time of year.

    So the lake is filling, but in perspective, it has a long way to go.

  6. DSE Says:

    This morning’s reading of 1057.85 represents the highest the lake has been since October of 2007 (when the lake started its freefall from near normal to record low in a matter of six months or so). We’ll probably top out over 1058 here in the next few days as the source waters are elevated and the downsteam inflows to the Chatt. allow the COE to reduce outflow. As Rkolter says, we have a long way to go, but we’re certainly making drastic progress.

  7. Chicken Little Says:

    I’ve been saving all my urine in jugs and emptying them in Lanier.

    Every little bit helps!


  8. Ned72 Says:


    What an infant.

  9. Chicken Little Says:

    this site is going the way of skyhighgasprices.com


    (you know you all love me!)

  10. Prootwadl Says:

    I think I’d love you more if you were deep-fried and sitting on a bun. :-)

  11. Chicken Little Says:

    and who told you I’m not?

    Prooot Waddle For Life!!!!! BGAWWWKKKKKKK!!!!!!

  12. josh Says:

    Hartwell is up 11 feet this season, too.

  13. Chicken Little Says:

    The sky is falling (?)

  14. Prootwadl Says:

    If the lake level is up, the distance from the sky would fall relative to the lake surface… Right? :-)

  15. dipchip Says:

    LL has risen 1 foot over the past 14 days with 1.64 inches of rain at the damsite to 1059 .17 ft by midnight tonight. With more rain in the Forcast the next 5 days should lift the level over 1060 ft.

  16. Don Says:

    Thank you!

  17. Chicken Little Says:

    CL has grown 2 new tail feathers over the past 14 days with 1.32 inche os length to .54 inches of width by noon tomorrow. With more feathers in the Forcast (sic) the next 5 days should be downright ticklish!


  18. dipchip Says:

    What CL hasn’t told us is, he has no waddles and no comb and the hens pay him no heed, in fact the hens have been pecking on him so much he has lost all his tail feathers. The cock of the yard no longer recognizes him and he spends most of his time hiding and roosting at night in a lonely cedar tree. At least he need not worry about losing his head as he may never be fit to fry.

  19. dipchip Says:

    See a map of LL watershed.


  20. Chicken Little Says:

    dipship is ALL WET


  21. GAHydroPro Says:

    Enough with this Chicken Little troll.

    I keep seeing a new post count and click and scroll down, only to find this classic, male loner (who’s living with his mother), making another childish comment.

    Could the moderator at least not post this lonely heart’s kindergarten contributions until you can do so along with a more useful post, or is the moderator enjoying wasting everyone else’s time while turning this blog into Romper Room.

    Can’t wait to read the troll’s hilariously funny (read: sad and lonely) reply to this.

  22. Chicken Little Says:


    now THAT’S comedy!


  23. dipchip Says:

    As of today 29 March LL is up 3 ft for the month from 1057.25 to 1060.25. Also some time today LL will have an additional 100,000 acre feet of water from 1473 to 1573 thousand or 32.6 billion gallons for the month, that is 6500 gallons for each person in the Atlanta metro area.

  24. Chicken Little Says:



  25. What Defines a Drought? : EcoLocalizer Says:

    [...] been stormy here in Atlanta. We’ve had a wet winter and rainy early spring. In a drought-stricken region like this, you tend to hear variations on the same joke every time it [...]

  26. Chicken Big Says:

    I, I, I say boy That’s no boating accident Chicken Little.


  27. BobbyC Says:

    I have been following this blog for a while to keep up to date on the Atlanta area drought.

    Nice to see things rising…

    It would be interesting to compare last years data with this years…

    Anywhere shows this?

    I am getting the daily data from here: http://water.sam.usace.army.mil/gage/acf/prob1.txt

    But it doesn’t go back far enough…

  28. Walter Says:

    BobbyC – go here for historical data – http://water.sam.usace.army.mil/gage/bufelev.htm

    My favorite website for checking the daily level is http://lanier.uslakes.info/level.asp

  29. Chicken Little Says:

    @Mr. Big – cease and desist!

    @Bobby C – http://drought.unl.edu/DM/DM_southeast.htm

  30. Chicken Big Says:

    CL was the advise so far over your head that you might have a nose bleed for a week to ten days.


  31. BobbyC Says:

    Thanks for the responses Chicken Little & Walter.

    Walter- That page is exactly what I was looking for!!

  32. LindaG Says:

    I like the page listed below for following how Lanier’s doing this year compared to last.

    FYI, except for the month of December, the “lowest recorded” levels on the graph are from last year.


  33. Chicken Little Says:

    Little is taking the Mrs. and Junior out for a day of water-skiing on Lanier this Saturday, any watershortage.com commentators care to join us?

    Mrs. Little packs a mean basket of picnic scratch!


  34. DSE Says:

    Interesting, I was looking at the elevation charts and noticed that we’ve had higher readings every day since February 24th. That’s pretty much six weeks of higher lake levels on a consistent basis. Since the lake bottomed out about December 10th, the readings have been either up or no change all but 6 days. This results from a more normal inflow to the lake with the drought that persisted longer in north Georgia than the Atlanta area finally subsiding. And its likely to continue refilling this spring as we start to get heavier rains.

  35. Chicken Little Says:


    that’s it and that’s all


  36. Chicken Little Says:

    More strong storms today. Come visit Little over at the Atlanta Water Surplus blog and help me figure out what we’re going to do with all this water!!!


  37. What Defines a Drought? - Green News Says:

    [...] been stormy here in Atlanta. We’ve had a wet winter and rainy early spring. In a drought-stricken region like this, you tend to hear variations on the same joke every time it [...]

  38. Conservator Says:

    Is this atlantadrought.com or atlantawatershortage.com?

    Too many people and too little water infrastructure isn’t the same thing as a drought.

    A drought simply exacerbates the problem a water shortage already exists.

    This Chicken person needs to learn English and/or how to read (nice link to drought page . . . NOT!).

    Maybe making cutesy quips after everyone else’s posts while he/she laughs hysterically at his/her own jokes substitutes for having real friends.

  39. Prootwadl Says:

    Ah, but as been discussed before, the Atlanta metro was not really the cause of the problem, and is a relatively small user of Lanier water when compared to other users downstream.

    Had the Corp of Engineers not mistakenly released far too much water at one point, the lake would not have had some of its issues. And if the Corp didn’t have to release so much from Lanier to sate the power plants and the Apalachicola Bay folks when other reservoirs downstream became low, the Lake would have been a little low but generally fine during the drought period.

    The problem isn’t really a population problem … the situation in Atlanta is a real one, but I think it’s more a victim of circumstance (being partially dependent on a reservoir with a small watershed that has many other influential users) than the main cause of the lack of water in Lanier.

    Conservation is one way for the Atlanta metro to try and mitigate the issues when the Lake is low, but nothing Atlanta does by itself will solve the problem. In my opinion. Atlanta simply isn’t the core issue here.

  40. Conservator Says:

    I have heard various reasons for Lanier’s existence (oxygenate the Chatahoochee, supply downstream power plants, protect certain species downstream, etc.).

    I thought I read that Lanier was never intended to supply Atlanta with drinking water, and doesn’t.

    I thought the drought simply exacerbated the population/water problem (too many people for the amount of water/reservoirs, Atlanta water pipes leaking 17 million gallons a day, more population growth expected without a corresponding increase in water supply/distribution, etc.).

    So, if Lanier goes back to its historic level and we have no more drought, we can realize another million or two people moving to Georgia with no more reservoirs, conservation, etc. We have infinite water supply and treatment/distriubtion systems that will service infinity people?

    Do we have a water shortage, based on the population/use/infrastructure or not?

    If we do when there’s no drought, but we don’t when there is a drought (and we know droughts will occur time to time), then we have a water shortage.

    Let’s use electric light as an example. Let’s say we have enough electricity to keep the lights on from 7 pm to 7 am, but can generate no more electric light outside those hours.

    Now, every time we set our clocks back, we’re in the dark from 6-7 am and 6-7 pm. We may have lots of electric light, but each year, we’re short for two hours for several months.

    It’s the same with our water infrastructure. We may have barely enough right now (with THIS population and no drought), but we KNOW more people are coming and we’ll contintue to have droughts and have to shut down businesses, limit residential use, etc. because we don’t have enough water under certain future and RECURRING scenarios.

    Which means we don’t currently have enough water for our situation (living in an area that experiences droughts).

    How simple is that?

  41. Conservator Says:

    Sorry, I meant, “CAN WE realize another million or so people with no more water. . . ” (not WE CAN)


    “If we do when there’s no drought, but IF we don’t when there is a drought

  42. DSE Says:

    Conservator, I think the problem is primarily drought related and not that we have too much population for the watershed. Lanier itself is notorious for having a relatively small basin for such a large lake, and when it goes down, it takes a while to fill up. But there are other reservoirs in the region as well, and even when faced with a drought of epic proportions we never got below half capacity (which sucks if you look at Lanier as a source of recreation rather than drinking water). Atlanta gets roughly 50 inches of precipitation a year, which is more than notoriously rainy cities like Seattle and maybe three times as much as Pheonix. And the area directly north of Atlanta (that fees the Allatoona and Lanier reservoirs) gets roughly 70 inches of rain each year. Water supply really isn’t the issue.

    On the other hand, your question about the purpose of Lanier is a good one. It wasn’t constructed primarily for drinking water, but then again, there are roughly 4 million more residents in the Atlanta area than when the lake was created. And we’ve got close but never really had to resolve the issue of whether in a severe case, the law says that the bottom half of the reservoir exists to provide drinking water to Atlanta or to provide enough downstream flow to keep a power plant going and avoid damaging some wildlife (wildlife, however, that would be damaged in a normal drought.)

  43. Chicken Big Says:

    Hey CL!
    Did we give up when the germans bombed Pearl Harbor? No. Don’t try and stop me I’m on a roll. But maybe you should give up on the witty barbs and stick to info on LL.

  44. Chicken Big Says:


  45. Chicken Little Says:

    If we could put CoCo The Chicken on the moon I knew we could solve something as easy as a “water shortage”.


  46. Chicken Big Says:

    This reminds me of something the Dalai Lama once said to me. He said “Gunga, Gunga galunga. So at least I have that going for me.


  47. Chicken Little Says:

    Good stuff, you probably got it from R.Koulter.

    I’m wet already.


  48. Prootwadl Says:

    Sometimes existing rules need to be changed in order to meet changes which have occurred.

    It is very true that Lake Lanier was primarily designed for the purposes that you cite, and that Atlanta was allowed to take drinking water more as a nice gesture than as a hard requirement (though I do think Atlanta has a lawgiven right at the moment to withdraw a certain amount).

    I believe that there really isn’t a water problem … in the current situation … given the normal rainfall patterns for the area. You can see the historic lake levels as proof that this is so. Until the aberration which occurred recently, which involved a certain amount of human error as well as the obvious lack of water in the watershed, the level of the lake was not an issue, and even during the existing drought no community was ever close to experiencing a shortage. As DSE says, we did use a significant amount of the total capacity, but certainly not enough to create a crisis situation.

    That doesn’t lessen the fact that I think we were given a wake-up call by this situation. More on this later…

    The City of Atlanta water system leakage is an embarrassment to me and I suspect to many other citizens of the Atlanta metro area, even though 90% of us don’t live in the city and don’t use that infrastructure. That being said, however, the amount of water we’re talking about (17,000,000 gallons/day) is background noise when compared to the amount of water released from the lake every day, and as I understand it most of that water returns to the river anyway. It certainly reflects VERY poor water management on the part of the City of Atlanta, and it should be improved, but it doesn’t represent a net loss to downstream users.

    I don’t know how many other people the entire metro area could hold given a static water supply, but the facts show that the metro’s water supply is NOT static. The Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority just opened Hickory Log Creek for its residents/customers even though it wasn’t dependent on Lake Lanier to start with (it also gets water from Lake Alatoona and other places), Clayton County gets their water from the Dog Diver, Douglas County gets their water from their own set of reservoirs plus the Flint River, etc.

    These are water assets over and above the Lake Lanier watershed, and there are other projects on the table.

    In fact, as far as I’m aware there have been projects on the table off and on for much of the past 20+ years, and most of the lack of movement on those projects has not been due to a lack of effort or activity on the part of Atlanta and its satellite communities, but rather a lack of cooperation on the part of downstream interests in the various other watersheds involved who seem stuck in the past and who don’t seem interested in seeing ANY change in their waterflow regardless of the merit or reasoning behind the changes being made.

    Do we have a water shortage based on the population/user/infrastructure?

    I would say not now, and not duringthe drought, but the drought certainly provided a warning that more needs to be done in order to make things more efficient, to reduce waste, and to create additional water resources to ensure that a shortage does not occur in the future.

    It isn’t a simple question, though, and the solution isn’t simple either as long as there are multiple dissenting interests in the area squabbling over water rights. I personally think the feds need to step in and allocate the existing resources for the good of the entire region.

  49. Conservator Says:

    “Do we have a water shortage based on the population/user/infrastructure?

    I would say not now, and not during the drought . . . ”

    I’d have to disagree, if you look at the fact that certain business had to shut down (car washes, water parks, etc.) and that homeowners lost LOTS of their landscaping, and the impact that the drought had on the landscaping business.

    If we had adequate (excess capacity) water supply, then these things wouldn’t haven happened.

    If we had a drought every 30 years or so, I’d say we might be fine with our infrastucture, but we live in a part of the world that is getting more populated during rising temperatures and more than once-in-30-year droughts.

    I don’t think we need to do anything Draconian (ration water), but we can’t keep ignorning this.

    What permanent changes have we made to our water supply/infrastructure/usage a a result of this last drought (which is now over, and probably forgotten by the public and legislature)?

  50. DSE Says:

    agree on the embarrasment to the city on its leaking system. To put that into perspective, when viewed on a per resident basis, with a population of right around half a million, that’s a waste of 34 gallons per resident, or enough for a nice long shower. You are right, there is no net loss of water downstream since the water goes back into the system, but my understanding is that’s water that’s already been treated.

  51. Chicken Big Says:

    Where are you CL?
    I’m in a glass state of emotion!

  52. Conservator Says:

    Would you show some respect for the board and the people who frequent it please?

    Get a MySpace or Facebook page if you want to stay in high school.

  53. Chicken Little Says:

    Conservator Says:
    April 17th, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Would you show some respect for the board and the people who frequent it please?

    Nobody wants to buy your drugs, Louis. Why don’t you just go away?


  54. Conservator Says:

    F*ck you, Lonely Heart.

  55. Chicken Little Says:

    Conservator Says:
    April 19th, 2009 at 7:50 am

    F*ck you, Lonely Heart.

    BG*WK YOU! Sarah Palen Lover.

  56. Chicken Big Says:

    You want the truth? You can’t handle the Truth! The truth is you want me on that wall! You need me on that wall! Nice language skills. Good comeback.

  57. Chicken Little Says:

    so if the “watershortage” blaagh makes it 2 months without a new post, is it officialy OVER?


    p.s. Lanier is STILL filling up!

  58. Conservator Says:

    So, if you can’t post for more than three days, are you THAT lonely?

  59. Chicken Little Says:

    Conservator Says:
    April 24th, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    So, if you can’t post for more than three days, are you THAT lonely?

    welcome to the barnyard


  60. Chicken Big Says:

    Your talking about practice! Are you talking about practice? Practice? We’re talking about practice. We are talking about practice! Practice man. Are we really talking about practice? I can’t believe your talking about practice. We’re talking about practice!

  61. dipchip Says:

    Looks like Lake Lanier is going to get another boost in pond level today.

  62. BertBamboo Says:

    It is amazing that such a “severe’ disaster as the drought of the past two years was easily erased with a wetter than normal late Winter and Spring. It really wasn’t as bad as they wanted us to believe.


  63. Joe Shmoe Says:

    Its not the city of Atlanta. Its DNR. How come no one has mentioned them?!?! Common people, theyre the ones that let the water out of the lake because they cant install a guage correctly. Theyre the ones that let 4 inches of what out when we get 6 inches of rain. Theyre a government run operation that has our lake by the balls.

    We got alot more rain than usual this spring, but that STILL wasnt enough for DNR to raise the lake. Lake Lanier has been around for 50 somthing years all the sudden 1071 seems impossible to reach. I cant believe more heat hasnt fallen on these idiots.
    Watch the water levels…http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ffc/html/rrm.php?date=2009-04-29+13%3A58%3A18

    “It is amazing that such a “severe’ disaster as the drought of the past two years was easily erased with a wetter than normal late Winter and Spring. It really wasn’t as bad as they wanted us to believe.


    SEE For some reason the Media wont just say that theres a legal war between florida alabama and georgia. They just say that theres a drought. Also why does DNR supply the chattahoochee with more water than would naturally flow down it. If the Lake was non existant, that 6 Inches upstream would equate to 6 inches downstream. But how come 6 inches in the lake equals 6 or 8 inches let out of the dam to go downstream? Now this spring they have cut that out a bit becuase otherwise atlanta citizens would start to put together that rain doesnt always equal more inches in the lake and someone has their hand on the controls(of the dam), and its not the people.

    *look at that graph on the top, you would think that during Jan 3-17 we had a hurricane. Nope, someone just decided it was time to fill the lake up.

  64. Conservator Says:

    Who is “they” and why did “want” us to believe the drought was more severe than it was?

  65. Chicken Little Says:

    Swine Flew Blog!


  66. Conservator Says:

    Of course, the lonely infant saw a post as a chance to pretend he has friends.

  67. Chicken Little Says:

    Conservator Says:
    May 3rd, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Of course, the lonely infant saw a post as a chance to pretend he has friends.

    I’m a fowl (sic) weather friend!


  68. BertBamboo Says:

    Conservator Asked:

    May 2nd, 2009 at 6:48 pm
    “Who is “they” and why did “want” us to believe the drought was more severe than it was?”


    The “they” are the climatologists, the press and the state and local politicians. They all love a crisis to give them their raison d’être.

    That group “wants’ us to believe that they understand the forces at work and have the ability to solve the problem. That is why it is in their interest to play up the drought as far more serious than it actually was.

    Periods of wet and dry have always been with us and always will. Only a few inches of excess monthly rainfall in winter and spring and what do you know, the drought is over.

    Guess what, the pattern will never stop.


  69. Chicken Little Says:

    shoot…I LOVE me some bamboo!


  70. Conservator Says:

    Really, really, lonely.

  71. Chicken Little Says:

    Conservator Says:
    May 4th, 2009 at 8:07 am

    Really, really, lonely.


    not when you’re here with me!


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