TVA has no plans to drawn Watauga down early, more in winter 2015-16
Published 9:53 am Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Despite rumors to the contrary, a Tennessee Valley Authority spokesperson said the federal utility agency has not made any changes to the annual water drawdown of Watauga Lake.
Rumors have been circulating through the community that the lake is being lowered ahead of schedule this year and also that TVA plans to lower the lake more than usual. This second rumor actually has two variations on why TVA is planning to drop lake levels below normal. The first version relates the plan is in preparation of several heavy snowfalls that are predicted to hit the Tennessee Valley. The second attributes the drawdown to the issues facing the federal utility at Boone Lake, where water levels have been below normal for several months as the utility tries to come up with a plan to fix leaks around Boone Dam.
On Monday, TVA spokesman Travis Brickey tried to lay those rumors to rest.
“We are operating it normally, and we have no plans to operate it any way other than normally,” Brickey said, emphasizing that the lake is not being lowered early and the annual winter draw down will be the same as previous years. “The Watauga Reservoir is not being managed any differently than it has been in other years.”
As part of TVA’s river management system, reservoirs that are controlled by dams, such as Watauga Lake, have their water levels raised in the summer to help accommodate recreation on the waters. The water levels are then lowered in the winter to help the river system manage potential flooding from winter snow melts.
Lower the water levels in the lakes helps by creating water storage capability. This means in the event of flooding down river, water releases at reservoirs upstream can be held to keep from adding to the problem, according to the TVA.
“We’re right in the range we normally are for this time of year,” Brickey said. “I talked to our guys in River Management and they are not planning to operate Watauga any differently than normal.”
Lake levels at Watauga, or any of the other TVA controlled reservoirs, can be checked on-line in real time, Brickey said. Those interested in checking out lake levels can go to www. tva.gov, clicking on “River Management” and then selecting “Reservoir Information” from the menu on the left side of the page, Brickey said. From there, on-line visitors can select any of the TVA reservoirs from a drop down menu, he added.