Alabama Power, the owner and operator of Martin Dam, has requested they be allowed to raise the winter water level in Lake Martin to 483 feet in 2009. They made this request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on December 29, 2008. They also requested to start filling Lake Martin up a month earlier – Jan 15 as opposed to Feb 17.
Lake Martin Water Level FAQ:
1. I thought that Alabama Power already requested to raise the lake’s winter level? True, they did. But they did it as a temporary variance to the rule curve. Apparently their last request only covered 2008.
2. Does this mean a change to the rules, will they only let it down to 483 every winter? No, this is a temporary variance request for 2009 only. But many hope that 483 will be be the new winter water level when Alabama Power makes its application to re-license Martin Dam in 2011.
3. Martin Dam has a license? Yes, Alabama Power owns and operates it, but FERC licenses its use. They establish a “rule curve” – a plan of how to handle the inflow and outflow of water from the Tallapoosa River. The licenses run for like 30 years, and Alabama Power is due to apply to a new license in 2011, with the new rules to come into effect in 2013. They are in the application process now, and the public has venues for input like here and here.
5. If FERC approves, how quickly will the level get up to 483? That depends on how much rain the Lord sees fit to send our way.
6. What? Lake Martin’s water level goes up and down? Why? Click here for a primer on how the creation of Lake Martin led to why the water level fluctuates.
Hey readers – let me hear from you – will a 483 foot winter help you out? Please leave a comment in the “Leave a Reply” section below. If you can’t see that, click on “Comments” then scroll to the bottom. I’m interested to see the results.