Duke manages high water along the Catawba

CHARLOTTE – Duke Energy has been working to move high water through the Catawba-Wateree Basin and encourages lakeside residents to use caution in low-lying and flood-prone areas.

Some areas in the upper Catawba region have received as much as six inches of rain in the last three days, requiring Duke Energy’s hydro operations team to move significant water volumes through the Catawba River’s 225 miles and chain of 11 reservoirs and 13 hydroelectric stations.

“We have been monitoring this weather system and began moving water in advance late last week,” said Randy Herrin, general manager of the hydro fleet. “Our focus is balancing the upper basin with the lower to minimize impacts to lakeside residents as much as possible. We also are keeping local emergency managers informed.”

Some Catawba reservoirs are above full pond and spilling, including Lake James, Lake Rhodhiss, Lake Hickory and Lookout Shoals. Problems with the controls that operate Oxford Dam spillway gates on Lake Hickory delayed the company’s ability to raise those gates. This caused water to spill over the auxiliary spillway, which is designed to pass high flows. There are no concerns for dam safety; the problem has been resolved, and water levels are receding.

Mountain Island Lake hovered around 3 feet below full pond April 28-May 5. Its target level is 4 feet below full pond.

Lake Wylie’s levels changed more dramatically over the week. It fluctuated from a half-foot below full pond on April 29 to as low as its target level of 3 feet below full pond on May 5. By May 6, Lake Wylie had climbed back up to 1.5 feet below full pond.

Those interested in monitoring lake levels can view them at www.duke-energy.com/lakes/levels.asp, or call the Lake Information Line at 800-829-5253.

In certain low-lying neighborhoods, Duke Energy may need to disconnect electricity for safety reasons. If so, Duke Energy will provide as much notice to customers as possible. The company would reconnect those customers once local officials indicate it is safe to do so.

“High water conditions can create hazardous conditions, and we encourage residents to be alert and adhere to the advice of local emergency management officials,” Herrin said. “We appreciate our customers’ patience and cooperation while we manage these high flows.”

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.

Marine Commission pushes back against litter

The Mountain Island Lake Marine Commission has recently placed new signs around the lake at popular recreation sites as a part of its “Keep It Beautiful” campaign.

The campaign encourages residents to protect the Charlotte drinking water source and the area wildlife by taking their trash with them when they leave the lake.

The anti-litter effort is a cooperative initiative between Duke Energy and the Mountain Island Lake Commission.

A look at lake levels

Lakes and creeks throughout the Catawba-Wateree basin have seen increased levels with the recent wet weather. Here’s what the lake levels looked like at 2:35 p.m. May 6. Lake levels are expressed as a relative level, where the maximum for all lakes is 100.

Lake Level Target Level

Cedar Creek/Rocky Creek 100.9 97.5

Lake Dearborn/Great Falls 98.0 97.5

Fishing Creek  98.4 98.0

Gaston Shoals 103.2 99.4

Lake Hickory 100.5 97.0

Lake James 104.0 98.0

Lookout Shoals Lake 106.0 97.0

Mountain Island Lake 95.9 96.0

Ninety-Nine Islands 104.9 99.4

Lake Norman 99.1 98.0

Rhodhiss 105.0 97.0

Summit 100.9 97.5

Lake Wateree 96.6 97.0

Lake Wylie 98.5 97.0

Source: Duke Energy

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