Army Corp draws down water levels in Georgia waterways ahead of forecasted wet winter

The summer boating season is coming to an end as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the annual drop in water levels has begun.

The Corp says the reservoir levels at Buford, West Point, and Walter F. George along the Chattahoochee River will be declining over the next two weeks.

Officials say the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin sees a decrease of inflow of water and a higher evaporation during this time of year. In addition, rainfall has been below average the past two months.

"Water released from the reservoirs are meeting basin wide requirements," said James Hathorn, Mobile District Water Management Chief. "Our operation will remain conservative during this period to minimize impacts. We are not expecting rain to improve conditions until the winter."

The National Weather Service’s long-term forecast indicates the increased chance of winter rainfall due to strong El Niño conditions. Until then, dock owners should consider removing boats from the reservoir prior to the decline to avoid becoming grounded.

"We want to remind the recreational public to be cautious," said Dustin Gautney, Mobile District Public Affairs Chief. "Underwater hazards such as shoals, tree stumps, and old roadbeds are closer to the surface and pose greater danger to boaters and swimmers. The best way to practice safety on the water is to always remember to wear your life jacket and watch for obstructions."

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