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Interim Joint Drought Management Plan Established for Area Lakes Jan. 12, 2012

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SENECA, S.C. -

Duke Energy, Greenville Water, and Seneca Light & Water have agreed on an interim plan to manage the use of water in Lakes Keowee and Jocassee and the Bad Creek reservoir during drought conditions.

Duke Energy manages the lakes for electricity production. Seneca Light & Water and Greenville Water withdraw water from Lake Keowee for drinking water and other public water system uses.

“This is an interim plan. It gives us a starting point for developing a longer term low inflow protocol as part of renewing the license for the Keowee-Toxaway Hydroelectric Project,” said Jeff Lineberger, director, hydro strategy & licensing for Duke Energy.

The operating license for the Keowee-Toxaway Project, which includes the Jocassee Pumped Storage Station and the Keowee Hydroelectric Station, expires in 2016. Duke Energy has been working with more than 30 organizations to renew the operating license and plans to submit the relicensing application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2014.

Seneca Light & Water Utilities Director Bob Faires says, “We’ve experienced drought conditions in four of the last five years. During these drought periods, our customers have been very responsive in conserving their water resources.

“The low inflow protocol basically mirrors what our customers have been, and are doing -- conserving their water usage. We were pleased to be able to work side-by-side with Duke Energy and Greenville Water to document a sensible solution for conserving our natural resources into the future.”

According to Greenville Water CEO David Bereskin, “We want to lead by example as part of this collective effort. We recognize the stress that is placed on the region’s water resources during drought conditions, and Greenville Water changed its procedures to support neighboring community’s needs.

"We are constantly monitoring the lake levels and making adjustments to ensure an adequate water supply,” he added. “We have reduced our use of Lake Keowee by 25 percent through effective management of our reservoirs.”

Bereskin noted that Greenville Water will also increase communications to educate residents about ways to reduce water use. “We all have the responsibility to conserve when our neighbors are negatively impacted by drought conditions,” he emphasized.

Five stages or levels of drought, stages 0-4, are defined in the interim water management plan. Triggers determine the drought stages and are based on lake levels, precipitation, stream flows and the U.S. Drought Monitor designations in the basin.

Each party agrees to take specific actions in response to each drought stage including:

  • Coordinated regular phone calls and data sharing
  • Reduced water withdrawals for public water supply from Lake Keowee by 3-30 percent, depending on the severity of the drought conditions
  • Urging water conservation throughout the basin
  • Requiring watering restrictions for lake residents

Given the reduced rainfall in recent months, the Keowee-Toxaway basin currently is in drought Stage 2 as defined by the plan.

Stage 2 is based on lower than normal stream flows and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers implementation of Level 2 of its Drought Contingency Plan for the downstream Hartwell and J. Strom Thurmond hydroelectric projects.

Actions at Stage 2 call for increased sharing of information and operating data, notifying water customers about the drought level and emphasizing the need to conserve water, with a goal to reduce water withdrawals from Lake Keowee by 5-10 percent or more.

The interim drought management plan can be viewed on the Duke Energy web site at www.duke-energy.com/lakes/catawba-lakes.asp.

Duke Energy will also limit lake neighbors’ water withdrawal from Lakes Keowee and Jocassee for irrigating lakeside properties to no more than two days of watering per week. Tuesdays and Saturdays are the two designated days. This watering restriction will begin on Feb. 1 and will be monitored by Duke Energy lake services.

About Duke Energy
Duke Energy Carolinas owns nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides approximately 19,000 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 2.4 million customers in a 24,000-square-mile service area of North and South Carolina. Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 4 million customers located in five states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 12 million people. Its commercial power and international business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States.

About Greenville Water
Greenville Water provides service to more than 450,000 residents of the Upstate region of South Carolina. Recognizing that water service is critical to the health and well-being of its customers and for the growth and economic vitality of the community, Greenville Water ensures the reliable delivery of high-quality water through careful stewardship of its resources. Greenville Water is committed to providing exceptional service and utilizing safe and effective methods for providing water, while adhering to and surpassing health and safety standards. Governed by an elected Commission of Public Works, Greenville Water is the state’s largest water utility.

About Seneca Light & Water
Seneca Light & Water provides water, sewer and electric service to the City of Seneca and surrounding areas. The utility manages over 500 miles of water lines, 150 miles of sewer lines and over 175 miles of primary electric distribution lines. Seneca Light & Water is a department of the City of Seneca and is committed to providing its customers with the very best in utility services.

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Sandra Magee
Duke Energy
(O) 864-873-4608
24-Hour 800-559-3853
sandra.magee@duke-energy.com

Jennifer DeWitt
Greenville Water
(O) 864-241-6109
(M) 864-434-0406
jdewitt@greenvillewater.com 

Robert Faires
Seneca Light & Water
(O) 864-885-2716
rfaires@seneca.sc.us


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