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 Monday, May 25, 2015
Serving The Land Between the Lakes - Philpott and Smith Mountain News Search   


The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Water releases reduced at Smith Mountain Lake

Minimal rainfall in recent months and a dry forecast have promoted the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to approve a request from Appalachian Power Co. (APCo) to reduce water releases from the Smith Mountain Lake Dam.  

The outflow reductions involves two reservoirs, Smith Mountain Lake and Leesville Lake.

"While the current conditions are not entirely out of line with what we've seen in prior years, the lack of precipitation on the horizon justifies reducing outflows," said Teresa Rogers, APCo hydro supervisor. "We're hopeful that the reduced flows will meet needs both upstream and downstream of the project while protecting environmental and biological resources."

APCo operates the Smith Mountain hydroelectric project under a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The license includes a water release protocol that has already resulted in reduced outflows from the project since November.

Prior to the variance, the water release requirements were a minimum of 375 cubic feet per second (cfs) from Leesville dam and meeting a target minimum flow of 560 cfs at Brookneal.

The variance approved by DEQ and now implemented reduces the minimum discharge from Leesville dam to 335 cfs and temporarily suspends the requirement to meet a required target flow at Brookneal, with continued monitoring of downstream flow conditions during the variance period.  

Appalachian developed the recommended variance releases in consultation with various stakeholders including DEQ, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Corps of Engineers, Smith Mountain Lake Association, Citizens for the Preservation of the River, Counties of Bedford, Franklin, Campbell and Pittsylvania, and Dominion Power.

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