More water longer

Lake Keowee residents worried over low water levels filled nearly three quarters of the high school auditorium seats in Salem for a “FOLKS” meeting on the Keowee-Toxaway power project re-licensing application. They received a detailed presentation from the project manager, Jen Huff of Duke Energy. But the aspect the crowd zeroed in on was the Lake Keowee water levels, how it looks and the potential impact on property values. Or, as one audience member asked Huff, what’s required for the lake to be able to hold more water for longer periods. As she explained, there is no simple answer. Getting first dibs on the water is Duke Energy for a supply adequate to be able to run the three-reactor Oconee Nuclear Station. Then, there are contractual agreements involving the Army Corps of Engineers and the Southeast Power Administration far downstream into the Savannah River, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Huff laid out scenarios in which changes are made to allow the nuclear plant to operate at lower water level, as well as amendments to the contractual customers downstream.