[David Goldman/Associated Press]
In this Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016 photo, a floating swim line rests on the sand as Lake Lanier water levels stand about eight feet below normal as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Natural Resources Manager Nick Baggett stands on the shore in Buford, Ga. Some of the South's most beautiful mountains and valleys this fall are filled with desperation, as a worsening drought kills crops, threatens cattle and sinks lakes to their lowest levels in years.
September 2016 - The state Environmental Protection Division declare a “drought response Level 1” for 53 North Georgia counties, including Carroll, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett. Riverkeepers and water planners fear the beginning of a new, sustained drought across metro Atlanta, similar to when this photo of Lake Lanier was taken in November 2011, when the lake was more than 11.5 feet below full pool.
The golf course (lower right and center) at Lake Lanier Islands can be seen after spring rains helped raise the water level to 1,062.9 feet on Saturday April 18, 2009, before additional rain over the weekend brought the level to 1,063.5 feet later in the week. The summer full pool is about 1,071 feet.
On March 27, 2013, Lake Lanier is at its highest level in nearly two years. The water level was posted as being 1,069.46 feet, which is 1.54 feet below the full pool of 1,071 feet. Heavy winter rains have reversed a trend that saw the lake dwindle to its lowest levels since the great drought.
[Jason Getz / AJC]
DRY AS A BONE: A "Slow No Wake," sign is shown far from the water due to low water levels on Lake Lanier at Mary Alice Park Monday afternoon in Cumming, Ga., November 26, 2012. Mary Alice Park is a Corps of Engineers Park whose boat ramp and floating docks are closed due to low water levels. Lake Lanier is at its lowest level since the historic drought of several years ago, when lakeside businesses lost millions in recreation revenue and boaters were unable to launch their crafts. Monday's level was 1,058 feet above sea level, 13 feet below full pool. The last time Lake Lanier was at that level was in March 2009, the last days of the two-year drought that ravaged the state.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 2016 manual for the management of the Chattahoochee River and five reservoirs, including Lake Lanier, gives metro Atlanta enough water to accommodate the region’s water needs until 2050. “Boy oh boy, this looks like everything we could have possibly hoped for,” said Brad Currey, a board member of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District. “It is highly significant in every conceivable respect in that it apparently addresses droughts, minimum flows of the Chattahoochee and hydropower.”
On July 5, 2008, lake levels were at 1055.96, about 15 feet below full pool for this time of the year. Dropoffs, visible in this photo, are hazardous to swimmers because most visitors are expecting a smooth bank area and can be surprised at the dramatic elevation change close to shore.