Lanier to lose less water

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved a request from the state Department of Natural Resources to reduce water quality releases from drought-stricken Lake Lanier.

The 37,000 acre reservoir is already nearly 13 feet below full pool and the level typically drops through the winter.

While the reduction, from 750 cubic feet per second to 650 cfs, is not dramatic the increased storage "could prove very beneficial to the system if the La Nina weather pattern persists as predicted," said Patrick Robbins, spokesman for the Corps of Engineers Mobile District.

The current level is closer to its record low, 1,052.23 feet, set Nov. 22, 2007, than the figure from a year ago this time, when Lanier was only three feet below capacity.

The new lower flow criteria goes into effect today and will continue through at least March 31, 2012.