COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The Chattahoochee River in Columbus has seen lower levels over the last couple of weeks. It’s not due to the water flow that was needed for the 2023 Kayaking World Championships but rather low rain fall and the annual drainage of West Point lake.
Robert Watkins with Georgia Power said it point blank,
“Did the Championships drain the river and the lakes anymore? No.”Robert Watkins – Georgia Power
Georgia power says there was not any additional water released from the dams than normal for the World Kayaking Cup – rather the time of day water was released was adjusted.
Although the river levels have changed, they didn’t suffer from the competition.
The water levels are noticeably lower. Whitewater Express employees tell WRBL the change of coloring on the rocks indicates where the water level typically sits. West Point is a flood control lake and was built to keep our viewing area from flooding.
“Every November they pull West Point down to the level that it’s at right now.”Robert Watkins – Georgia Power
Late fall and early winter the active weather season begins.
“So they have room to put the flood water if we have a really bad storm or hurricane. They got a place to put it and regulate it and not flood the towns downstream like Columbus.”Robert Watkins – Georgia Power
Ed Wolverton the President and CEO of Uptown Columbus says hosting any type of outdoor event, especially on a river there are a number of things out of your control, like weather.
“One of the big things they told us at the beginning is we need normal rainfall throughout the year.”Ed Wolverton – President & CEO, Uptown Columbus
Wolverton checked in roughly every 60 days and everything was on track, until September hit.
“Oh we haven’t had any rain in the month. Our forecast says we won’t get any rain in the next month. We will not be able to give you all the water you need to put on the competition.”Ed Wolverton – President & CEO, Uptown Columbus
Georgia Power says the responsibility is to maintain the entire river.
“It’s really based on what they have to deliver at the Florida line by law.”Robert Watkins – Georgia Power
With the help of Georgia Power and The Army Corps of Engineers they were able to meet the state requirements like agricultural and city needs while putting on a world championship.