Dry conditions from the drought were obvious Thursday near the boat ramp at Mary Alice Park at Lake Lanier. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Lake Lanier low water levels as drought continues

Georgia hasn't seen significant rainfall in more than a month, which has prompted state officials to impose mandatory water restrictions and declare a Level 2 drought in 52 counties.

The drought has caused wildfires across north Georgia and there are concerns about the drought's effect on Georgia's lakes, especially Lake Lanier.

“I am very concerned that we are going into a multi-year drought," said Glenn Page, the general manager for Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority. "But from a resource perspective, I am most concerned about Lake Lanier.”

Lake Lanier is one of the main water sources the water authority can use, along with Allatoona Lake.

Wednesday's latest readings for Lake Lanier water levels showed the lake at a water level of 1,060.95 feet below mean sea level at 4:15 p.m. Lake Lanier is 10.05 feet below its full pool level of 1,071 feet MSL.

On Nov. 23, 2015, the water level sat at 1,071.26 MSL and 1,067.33 the year prior in 2014. Here are Lake Lanier's levels for Nov. 23 over the past six years, based on corps data here.

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What has Page concerned is how the low levels compared to the rule curve. The “rule curve” is used by the corps to determine the limits for the lakes’ water levels.

A comparison of Lake Lanier's rule curve and elevation levels since 2007 for Oct. 15. 
Photo: Glenn Page, Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority

Allatoona Lake is also experiencing low water levels during Georgia's drought, but Page said that the lake is in pretty good shape for this time of year.

On Wednesday afternoon, Allatoona Lake's water level was at 832.70 feet MSL, which sits 7.30 feet below the full pool level of 840 feet MSL. On Nov. 23 last year, the water level sat at 836.22 MSL and 829.88 in 2014.

Below are Allatoona Lake's levels for Nov. 23 over the past six years. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' data can be found here.

If the drought does continue, Page doesn’t expect Allatoona to be affected like Lake Lanier.

“Lanier is about 3-4 times the size, but the drainage basin is about the same. If we get an inch of rain, Lanier comes up 3 inches, Allatoona comes up about a foot,” he said.

A comparison of Allatoona's rule curve and elevation levels since 2007 for Oct. 15. 
Photo: Glenn Page, Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority

Drought resources:

Georgia imposes water restrictions as drought worsens

MAP: Georgia's drought and where water restrictions apply

What is a drought and how is drought measured?

Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brad Nitz went to the lake to see the drought's impact.
Video: www.accessatlanta.com

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