Lake Sidney Lanier, located northeast of Atlanta, Georgia is a reservoir impounded by Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee River constructed by the United States Corps of Engineers in the late 1950s. It is the main source of water for Atlanta. It lies in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin. The drainage area is approximately 1,040 square miles. The lake has 73 square miles of surface water at normal pool, a 14:1 ratio, a low ratio, but acceptable in a region which usually has ample precipitation.
The lake was in the news in 2007 due to rapidly dropping lake levels during the severe drought which afflicted the Southeastern United States in 2007. The drought brought into focus conflict between the multiple purposes of the project which, in addition to providing water for domestic use, include maintenance of river flow downstream for both wildlife and navigation. Other purposes include flood control, generation of electricity, and recreation. It was announced by the Fish and Wildlife Service on November 16, 2007 that releases of water would be slightly reduced, initially by 5%. The reduced flow is expected to result in some, but not fatal, damage to downstream species.
- ↑ "U.S. Acts to Bolster Supply of Water for Atlanta" article by Brenda Goodman in The New York Times November 17, 2007
- Corps of Engineers Lanier website
- "Georgia Loses Federal Case in a Dispute About Water" article by Brenda Goodman in The New York Times February 6, 2008