Duke needs to manage dam better

Published 4:45 pm Friday, May 24, 2019

I attended the Norwood Town meeting (Monday) night concerning the fluctuating water levels on Lake Tillery.

The Duke Energy presentation about why the water levels are fluctuating made no sense to me. It only raised more questions.

They blamed a very wet spring.

My question is, how can the lake level fluctuate up and down so much if you had more water than you can handle over the last six months?

One would think that the lake would be at full pond during the entire timeframe.

Except for two hurricanes and the five-year maintenance drawdowns, the lake levels have been steady — until now.

You can sit on any dock and see the levels rise and subside on a daily basis.

Duke Energy claims that they are required to send “X” amount of water down river per the “new” licensing agreement, which was effective more than four years ago. They also claimed that this process had very little impact on the water levels, maybe a two-inch drop.

Duke Energy claims the amount of water being sold to Union County has little effect on the lake levels.

Duke Energy claims the extra water released downstream on the weekends for the kayakers per the new license agreement has little effect on the water levels.

Duke Energy claims that this is a working lake not a recreational lake.

So why the weekend releases for the kayakers?

Which is it?

Duke Energy claims that the water level indicator that they have at the dam is accurate and that they are within 5 percent of the specifications of the license.

All you have to do is look at the watermarks on your dock to disprove that statement.

According to Duke Energy, everything is fine.

So why is the water fluctuating you ask?

Duke Energy claims that they have no control over what the upstream Badin dam does. If that’s the case, the Badin dam has been doing whatever since 1926 and it hasn’t caused the problems we have today.

Duke Energy claims it is hard to predict the amount of rainfall and do an accurate drawdown ahead of time.

Even if there was a surprise storm, doesn’t the excess water go over the dam anyway?

Duke Energy claims that when you run the generators it increases the water consumption.

Does it matter if the water goes through the generators or over the spillway if the “X” amount of gallons total required goes downstream?

You would not use more water if managed correctly.

Prior to this meeting, I don’t think Duke Energy realized what impact the erratic lake levels have on the residents on Lake Tillery.

Duke Energy has to be more proactive in managing the dam. They have to make sure that the water levels are held to a minimum amount of fluctuation yet be in compliance to the license agreement and at the same time to the concerns of the residents and visitors to Lake Tillery.

John Smith