West Point Lake Levels Up, But For How Long?

Feb. 7, 2008

WEST POINT, Ga (WTVM) - Just a few months ago, the devastating drought turned West Point Lake into what looked like a desert.

Now, with a few good downpours, the lake is only three and a half feet below full pool, and that is music to the ears of businesses in the area.

"March 1st is typically when everybody comes, and we were scared we weren't going have any water, but come Christmas, we had about a week of rain.  We went up about five feet, and right now, we are almost ten feet higher, just a few feet from full pool.  The fisherman are excited, we're getting tons of reservations, and they can't wait to get here," said Danny Ellrich, owner of Highland Marina Resort.

Things look good going into the spring season...but what about after the typical rainy months pass?

Some in West Point say if the drought continues through next summer and fall, lake levels will drop yet again.

"If Lake Lanier doesn't have enough water to provide, then the Army Corps will go to what they call the West Point work horse...they drain this lake, and we support other needs downstream.  That's a big concern of ours," said Joe Maltese, Special Project Manager for the City of LaGrange.

So far this year, Mother Nature has not been good to Lake Lanier, and full pools in West Point could be changing in the coming months.

But for now, game fisherman and boaters are excited about the upcoming season.

"Fishing has been great, even with the low levels, but now it's even better," said Ellrich.

"I'm personally very excited, because I get to put my boat back in the water," said Maltese.

The Army Corps of Engineers have not solidified any plans yet for West Point.

They do say, though, that minimum flows downstream need to be kept, and everything will depend on how much rainfall comes.