SENECA, S.C. - Significant rainfall since May 1 has improved lake storage in the Keowee-Toxaway River Basin to allow the regional drought response plan to return to Stage 0. This stage requires Duke Energy to monitor conditions.
The basin includes the Duke Energy reservoir at Bad Creek, Lake Jocassee and Lake Keowee. Rainfall resulted in Lake Jocassee gaining about 10 feet of storage since April.
Because lakes Jocassee and Keowee are upstream of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) reservoirs, the Keowee-Toxaway regional drought response plan is linked to USACE drought levels. USACE drought levels improved dramatically this week from even more rain in the middle and lower Savannah River Basin, which triggered the upstream improvement to Stage 0.
Previous to this, the Keowee-Toxaway River Basin had been in Stage 2 since January 2012, which required mandatory water conservation and limited lake neighbors at Lake Jocassee and Lake Keowee to irrigating on Tuesdays and Saturdays only.
Duke Energy, Greenville Water and Seneca Light & Water voluntarily implemented this regional drought response plan, called the "Interim Low Inflow Protocol" (ILIP), in January 2012 to enhance drought coordination.
Duke Energy and stakeholders have been reviewing the ILIP for any changes needed for a final Low Inflow Protocol (LIP). Duke Energy plans to include a final LIP in the new hydro license application it will submit to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission next August.
"The regional drought response plan is a most important tool in the way we propose managing water resources in dry conditions. Having a plan with clearly defined triggers that is nimble and able to respond appropriately to changing conditions is key," said Steve Jester, vice president of Water Strategy, Hydro Licensing & Lake Services. "Receiving substantial rainfall this spring helps position the water storage in these reservoirs better for the summer months, when evaporation and required water releases can cause it to decline."
Duke Energy Carolinas owns nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides approximately 20,000 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 2.4 million customers in a 24,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.