Drought not affected water travel in the area

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 8, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; Although Demopolis received a slight rain shower late yesterday afternoon and additional precipitation is expected this weekend, water levels throughout the state have been dropping due to drought conditions. These levels, however, do not seem to have an effect on the amount of water travel that is happening at local lake and river sites.

Marilyn Phipps, in the public affairs office of the Corps of Engineers, said all of the locations she has kept in contact with have not had a shortage in water travel.

According to data that is collected each day by the Demopolis Lock and Dam, the pool water levels for June 7 were at 73.61 ft-msl. Last year on the same date, the pool water levels were at 74.09 ft-msl, which shows a .006 percent drop.

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The tail water levels for June 7 were at 33.02 ft-msl. This time last year the tail water levels were at 33.70 ft-msl, which shows a .023 percent drop in level. Although these are not significant drops, they can have an effect on the way the levels are managed.

Phillips said that each site has its own plan for water management, which includes action zones and then the low level plans for each site.

&8220;These lakes must meet a lot of needs,&8221; Taylor said, &8220;and, under the current drought conditions, it will not be possible to meet all of them completely.

It now becomes a balancing act of trying to meet as many needs as possible with the available water.&8221;

Aside from maintaining safe water levels, the Corps of Engineers also monitors the water quality, environmental impact and recreational impact for each lake project, such as at the Demopolis Lock and Dam.

According to Phillips, the entire system has noticed the one area that has experienced the most change from the drought has been in the way of commercial navigation. This refers to the barges and other commercial vehicles that have to use the river for transportation.