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South Carolina State Climatology Office
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South Carolina Drought News Release

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Land, Water and Conservation Division
South Carolina Drought Response Program
Department of Natural Resources News (803) 734-4133

SPECIAL NEWS RELEASE #02 - 29 July 12, 2002

WATER RELEASE SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED INTO PEE DEE RIVER DURING DROUGHT

A meeting of the state’s Northeast Region Drought Committee was held in Florence on July 10 to consider impacts of and responses to drought-related diminishing streamflow in the Great Pee Dee River.

At the meeting, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) indicated that Carolina Power and Light Co. (CP&L) had agreed to a daily average flow release of 1,200 cubic feet per second (cfs) from the Blewett Falls hydroelectric facility near Rockingham, N.C. The release from the Blewett Falls facility determines the amount of flow in the Pee Dee River entering South Carolina.

After the July 10 meeting, CP&L informed DNR that there was a misunderstanding, and that CP&L had not agreed to the 1,200 cfs daily average release. The 1,200 cfs flow is the average amount being released from the upstream Alcoa Generating Co. facility to CP&L’s downstream facilities (Tillery and Blewett Falls).

Upon being informed of the misunderstanding about releases from Blewett Falls, DNR entered into further discussions with CP&L regarding actual and possible releases from that facility to South Carolina. In the past, releases from Blewett Falls have ranged from a low of 300 cfs to as much as 9,000 cfs.

Carolina Power and Light informs DNR that it will now release an average flow of at least 700 cfs on Saturday and Sunday and an average flow of 1,400 cfs for the Monday through Friday period. This procedure will result in a weekly average release of about 1,200 cfs, which is equal to the amount of water CP&L is receiving from upstream.

The DNR believes that the revised release schedule, while not optimal for South Carolina’s interests, is an important improvement over the previous 300 cfs to 9,000 cfs release situation and is a reasonable and balanced operating method for CP&L during the current severe drought condition.

Carolina Power and Light informed DNR that it would continue with the revised operating method for as long as inflow from upstream allows it to do so. As DNR indicated at the July 10 meeting, unless significant rainfall occurs in the Yadkin/Pee Dee River Basin to provide relief from the severe drought, current inflow to the CP&L facilities will continue for only another 60-70 days. After that period inflows throughout the system and into South Carolina would be much reduced resulting in significant water use problems.

Mike Creel
News Section Chief
SC Department of Natural Resources
1000 Assembly St., P.O. Box 167
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
Phone: 803-734-3950 Fax: 803-734-3951
creelm@dnr.sc.gov

Find out more about the State Climatology Office at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/climate/sco/ or by calling (803) 734-9100.

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