Drought in the South: Lake Hartwell on the Georgia/South Carolina Border

I was up in South Carolina with my daughter last weekend visiting with my ex-in-laws at their condo on the lake.  I hadn't been up in a few months and was shocked at how low the lake had dropped.  They had been out of town for a few weeks during which time the lake had dropped and left their boat stranded on the mud.

While I was there I went down to the dock and took some pictures which I thought I'd share with you.  The picture on the left should have water all the way up to the treeline, so normally that picture would be 60% water, the only green you would see is the top bar of trees.  Notice the blue dock with the ramp attached to it.  The reason it's in the middle of the cove is the owner has been moving it to keep it in the water as the lake receded.  That's until it got to the point in the middle where there wasn't enough depth to keep it afloat.  It's proper location is tied up to the trees on the right.

To give you some perspective, Lake Hartwell is part of a series of man-made lakes that are used for hydroelectric power as well as cooling for a nuclear power plant in South Carolina.  Due to poor rainfall this summer you can see the lake has dropped quite drastically, somewhere in the region of 15-20ft or so, in fact I don't think I've ever seen it this low before and I've been going up here since 1985. 

I excerpted below in BLUE some information from the US Army Corps of Engineers website on Lake Hartwell:

"Hartwell Lake is one of the southeast's largest and most popular public recreation lakes. Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1955 and 1963 as part of a flood control, hydropower, and navigation project, authorized purposes now include recreation, water quality, water supply, and fish and wildlife management. Each year, millions of people utilize the many public parks, marinas, and campgrounds conveniently located around the lake to pursue a variety of outdoor recreational experiences - making Hartwell one of the most visited Corps lakes in the nation.  Hartwell Lake is a man-made lake bordering Georgia and South Carolina on the Savannah, Tugaloo, and Seneca Rivers."

As you can see from these pictures of one of the coves near the condo, with the dock and the boat in the mud not much boating will be taking place from here for a while.  Fortunately the deeper parts in the main area of lake still has boating, but I'm sure the boat ramps are way out of the water now.   Maybe I'll take a look at that next time I'm up there, although hopefully we'll get some good rainy days over the next few weeks and months and get the level up a bit. 

Looks like its going to take a lot of rain and some water conservation by the Corps of Engineers to bring the levels back up for next summer!!

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