October 25, 2008

Lake Lanier, One Year Later

Every now and then I look back, just to gain perspective on where we are now.

Back in October of 2007, Georgia was in the middle of a drought: one of its largest reserves, Lake Lanier, had dropped dangerously low.

The thing that was striking about this shortage was that the Army Corps of Engineers seemed totally oblivious to the problem, much like John McCain and his Sara Palin problem.

Here's a relevant snip of the post:

Major Daren Payne of the Army Corps of Engineers wrote a letter to the Governor, stating that Georgia was "not going to run out [of water] any time soon." He's the deputy commander for the district that oversees the lake and the dams in the area. And he seems to be some kind of idiot.

Hey, Major Moron, here's a reality check for you:

On the left is a picture of the East Point Reservoir, taken about a year ago.

On the right is a picture of the SAME reservoir, taken last week.
Notice something? Like the LACK of WATER? I'd certainly classify it as "running out of water."

Major Daren "Moron" Payne actually responded to this post! I'm going to interperse his comments with my responses:
Major Daren Payne said...

Just to clear the record and make sure everyone has the correct information I'd like to point out several indisputable facts regarding the drought situation and Lake Lanier water supplies:

1. There are over 280 days of water left in Lake Lanier assuming no change in current consumption levels and that we get NO precipitation whatsover during that time period.

Bragging that you have a supply that won't last even as long as the current drought has run isn't very reassuring. And with the rainfall record over the last two years, counting on rain isn't the smartest thing I've heard. Assume the rain fall continues the same rate for the next year: how long will it take to replenish the lake? Hmm, NEVER, that's how long, under the current trend.

2008: the water level has risen four feet since this post: but that is after it fell four feet. which leaves the lake where it was a year ago.

2. Lake water below the conservation pool (i.e. the dreaded "dead pool") has been tested by local labs and is within normal drinking water quality specifications.
Did I address water quality in my post? I did NOT. Not sure why you're bringing it up.

2008: I now realize it's a "talking point" he was instructed to introduce. Kinda like Sara Palin does anytime she's asked a question about anything relevant to her qualifications as VP.
3. Lake Lanier has not yet hit it's historic low. In fact, although this drought is the worst in history in terms of intensity and duration, we are still four feet above the all time low for Lake Lanier recorded in 1981 when the population drawing water from the lake was about 1/3 of what it is today.
I stand corrected about the historical low. I guess I'm about four months early.

2008: Actually, I was only four weeks early. It beat the 1981 record (1,052.7) on November 19, 2007 when the lake dropped to a depth of 1,051.98. It continued to drop until February, at a final record low of 1,051.79 feet.
4. The pictures in this article, while alarming to say the least, are pictures of a small, shallow cove in one area and certainly not indicative of the overall situation at Lake Lanier. In fact, over 65% of the total volume of water that the Corps can retain in Lake Lanier is still in the lake.
So, the lake is at 65% of its capacity? Hmm, that's 35% empty or less than 2/3 of its volume. This is supposed to reassure anyone? The guy who's walking cross his old fishing hole should sleep much better tonight, huh?

2008: It's a small, shallow cove if it's got water in it. If it's got no water, it's a dried-up lake bed.
Thus, while we have a serious drought and a very serious long term water management problem for the entire Southeast, I'd say the Corps has done a pretty good job of managing a scarce resource in the face of exceptional drought, massive urban growth and in the face of no less than a dozen lawsuits from three different states.
You've got a problem looking at reality, Major. Fending off a dozen lawsuits isn't a sign of success. Particularly when it is STATE GOVERNMENTS doing the suing. If you're successful, why would anyone sue?

So for know, I'm afraid you're still "Major Moron" to me. But at least you got balls. I may question your wisdom, but you got the courage to stand for your convictions. I wish I found that reassuring. I do not, and neither, apparently, do the people in three states who've filed a dozen lawsuits.

2008: Since this post, the water level has risen above the record lows of February 2008, but the lake hasn't risen above 1,055 feet. And in the face of Sara Palin, I no longer credit Payne with having balls: He's an idiot.

The Army Corps of Engineers was removing water from the lake faster than it was coming in, and doing this during one of the worst droughts in the region's history. I can only hope that he has been removed from public service as the incompetent hack he is.


  1. You're a whining asshole. The Corps official responded with reasonable statements, yet all you can do is write a silly list of juvenile uninformed comments. If you're so concerned, why not devote your energy to doing something constructive about this problem?

  2. Anonymous, the only "whining asshole" making "juvenile uninformed comments" is you, which is why I suppose you didn't have the guts to sign any sort of name to your puerile rant.

    The problem with "The Corps Officials reasonable statements" is that they were not at all reasonable.

    1. It's not "reasonable" to claim that there's plenty of water when there is clearly not,
    2. It is not "reasonable" to introduce a counter-argument to an argument that has never been made.
    3. It is not "reasonable" to take me to task because "we haven't reached the historic low" when you are only days and inches away from doing just that.
    4. Arguing that the pictures show "a shallow cove" would be more convincing if you were looking at a shallow cove instead of a dry lake bed. Shallow coves have a little water; dry lake beds are empty.

    5. It's not "reasonable" to claim you're doing a good job while you are being sued by at least a dozen different parties for the job you've been doing. In the real world, acruing lawsuits in that manner gets you fired, it does not give you bragging rights.

    And I am doing something constructive, Anonymous; I'm pointing out that the people responsible for resolving the mess are irresponsible, lying, clods. I think it's helpful to know that the person you're about to deal with will lie their asses off to save face.

    Now run back you to your mommy and ask her to wipe your snotty face, you silly little child.

  3. Here's what I and trying to understand. Let's say Lake Lanier doesn't exist. We still have a drought. The results would leave the Chattahoochee levels very low. That means downstream would only get what they get. Tell me why the Lanier output has to make up the difference in a drought downstream when they wouldn't have the water level anyway? The Chattahoochee is always high downstream and more water is being released that the previous year? This doesn't make sense. If you don't get it in the mountains, you don't get it downstream. Lake Lanier has only one true purpose: To supply the shellfish in the gulf with plenty of fresh water. A watershed is only secondary. That's why we are having the issues. If that's the case then let West Point lake make up the difference and adjust the output levels from Lanier.

  4. Try to separate your political views from your other passions. Your views loose legitamacy when you put senseless comments along side. You're right about the water issues. It doesn't make sense what the Army Corp is telling the public. It appears to be more of a governmental control issue over the people than anything else.