R7-01 . General Objectives .

The authorized purposes of the Richard B. Russell project are to provide water supply, hydroelectric power, flood control, fish and wildlife, water quality and recreation benefits. The operation of the Russell project will be to maximize the benefits of these authorized purposes. This water control management plan has been developed for the Richard B. Russell Dam and Lake Multiple Purpose Project to conform with the objectives and specific provisions of its authorizing legislation and applicable Corps of Engineers directives.

R7-02 . Overall Plan for Water Control .

The Russell Project includes 5 feet of conservation storage (elevation 470 to 475 feet NGVD, 126,800 acre-feet) and 5 feet of flood control storage (elevation 475 to 480 feet NGVD, 140,000 acre-feet). The project has limited conservation and flood control storage and a constant guide curve (target pool level) with no seasonal drawdown. The area-capacity curve for the project is found at Plate R7.3.

Decisions concerning water control for the Russell Project are part of coordinated multi-reservoir system regulation for the Savannah River Basin, as well as part of the operation of the larger power network for the southeastern United States (coordinated through SAD).

Long term planning and supervision of the operation of rainfall and river stage reporting works is a responsibility of the Water Control Center. Weekly activities are the following:

a. Weekly Water Volume Analysis . The Water Control Manager compiles necessary basic data on precipitation, river stages, reservoir elevations, and general streamflow conditions, and prepares inflow, discharge, storage and pool elevation projections by noon each Wednesday for the following week and makes water generation availability analyses and forecasts for the three-reservoir system. Projections consider guide curves (a constant elevation of 475 feet above mean sea level at the Russell Project), power contract commitments, antecedent and expected rainfall, and rainfall-runoff relationships for the upper Savannah River Basin.
Additional considerations that might affect discharges are powerplant maintenance activities, proposed operational changes which would affect power generation, and water level management activities related to fisheries or recreation. Input concerning these matters are normally received on Wednesdays from the Planning Division and the Technical Support Branch of Operations Division.

b. Weekly Report to the South Atlantic Division (SAD) . The Water Control Center transmits the recommended schedule of power generation to the Water Management Branch at SAD by Wednesday afternoon. Following SAD consultation with the Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA), the marketing agency for Federally generated power in the southeastern states, SAD coordinates any changes to the schedule with the Water Control Center.

c. Weekly Meeting . Each Thursday morning the Water Control Manager conducts a meeting with Operations and Planning Division personnel to review storage and pool elevation projections and power generation availability analyses. The Water Control Manager transmits water control data (pool elevations, inflows, outflows, precipitation, hydrographs at downstream control points, and other hydrologic data) to SAD.

d. Final Generation Schedule . Following confirmation by SEPA, SAD advises the Water Control Center each Friday of the amount of energy to be taken from each of the three projects. Power companies furnish hourly schedules directly to the Project Operator with copies furnished to the Water Control Center.

R7-03 . Standing Instructions to the Project Operator .

A summary of reservoir regulation procedures for the project operator during both normal and emergency situations is found in Exhibit R7-A. The Hydraulics Section, Hydrology and Hydraulics Branch, Engineering Division, is responsible for water control management within the Savannah District, including the regulation of the Richard B. Russell Project to achieve its project purposes. Operations Division is responsible for the operation and maintenance of these projects. Assigning responsibility for water control management to the Hydraulics Section does not diminish the necessity for or the desirability of appropriate and adequate inter-staff coordination. Hydraulics Section is responsible for ensuring that such coordination has been effected and subsequent actions are taken. The Project Operator is responsible to the Water Control Manager for all water control actions.
Transmission of instructions from the Water Control Manager through several individuals or organizational units can be a source of delay and misunderstandings. Clear lines of communication and authority must be maintained. Occasionally, water control management decisions necessitate that the Water Control Manager (in Engineering Division) contact the Project Operator directly so that satisfactory instructions can be given or hydrologic data can be obtained. Particularly during time of emergencies, there must be no delay in transmission of instructions or hydrologic data between the Project Operator and the Water Control Manager. In these instances, the Project Operator will act on instructions received directly from the Water Control Manager on all matters regarding the regulation of water. Advisory notification is furnished to Operations Division as soon as possible.

R7-04 . Flood Control .

Under flood conditions, the water management objective of the Russell Project is to pass all inflow through the Russell Project, operating jointly with the Hartwell and Thurmond Projects to minimize flooding downstream. Achieving this objective requires turbine discharge and may require spillway discharge.

a. General . The Russell Project includes 5 feet of flood control storage (elevation 475 to 480 feet NGVD, 140,000 acre-feet). The limited conservation storage (5 feet from elevation 470 to 475 feet NGVD, 126,800 acre-feet) necessitates a constant guide curve (a target pool level at elevation 475) with no additional flood storage provided by seasonal drawdown.

b. Flood Regulation . The Water Control Manager performs flood routings and makes lake elevation and river stage forecasts, and coordinates and schedules lake releases during flood periods. During floods, the Water Control Manager forwards reports as necessary to SAD containing data on predicted peak stages and percentage of flood control storage used.

The Water Control Manager informs responsible District personnel on critical weather and streamflow conditions affecting the public and District activities and coordinates with the Public Affairs Office to issue flood reports on flood emergencies. When the possibility of flooding conditions at or downstream of the reservoirs exists, the Savannah District Operations Division, Readiness Branch (OP-E) is contacted. OP-E coordinates implementation of evacuation plans with local government agencies in advance of any flood release, and dispatches flood survey teams to impacted areas and notifies local officials that District facilities and personnel are available upon request to assist in emergency conditions. The Water Control Manager furnishes a forecast of pool elevations and releases to be made to the SAD Water Management Branch. At least one of the following SAD personnel will be contacted during a flood emergency:
Mr. Chris Smith Office N/A
Mr. Trent Ferguson Office N/A

The Richard B. Russell Lake Flood Control Release Schedule is found in Plate R7.4. As part of the system regulation of the upper Savannah River Basin, flood control regulation considers the current lake levels and trends in lake levels within both Russell Lake and downstream Thurmond Lake. When Russell Lake is neither in flood control regulation nor expected to be so, the schedule limits Russell turbine releases according to flood control conditions within Thurmond Lake. Damage centers are generally downstream of Thurmond Dam, particularly within the vicinity of the Augusta metropolitan area.

When Russell Lake is within its five feet of flood control storage, regulation depends upon the trend in elevation. If the Russell elevation is still rising but not expected to go into surcharge storage (requiring use of the spillway gates), turbine releases are limited according to whether Thurmond Lake is or is not in flood control regulation. If the Russell elevation is still rising and is expected to reach the top of flood control storage (which would again require use of the spillway gates), turbine releases are increased to 30,000 cfs. When the Russell elevation is falling, regulation depends upon the flood condition and trend within Thurmond Lake, generally limiting turbine releases to a maximum of 20,000 cfs.

c. Gate Operation . When Russell Lake exceeds its flood control storage, use of the tainter gates according to the Spillway Gate Regulation Schedule (Plate R7.5) is required. All discharges other than through the turbines should be made through the spillway gates. When all spillway gates are to be opened, discharges should be made uniformly across the spillway, as nearly as practicable, by opening gates so that no gate opening is more than one foot larger or smaller than any other gate opening . Gates should be opened beginning near the center of the spillway (#5 and #6) and proceeding outward. When closing the gates, the order is reversed, with #1 and #10 closed first, and proceeding towards the center of the spillway. As during raising, the gates should be closed so that no gate opening is more than one foot larger or smaller than any other gate opening. The spillway gates are numbered 1 through 10 beginning with the gate nearest the powerhouse.

R7-05 . Recreation .

The impact of lake levels upon visitation is largely dependent upon the season of the year during which they occur and the duration of lower lake levels. The Russell Project's design fluctuation (drawdown) is five feet, between elevations 470 and 475 feet above mean sea level. The normal five-foot drawdown causes minimal impacts to recreation activities in and around the lake. The project has not experienced low lake levels throughout an entire visitation season, so estimates of drought impacts are speculative.

R7-06 . Water Quality .

Like all deep lakes in the South, Russell Lake stratifies during the summer months. A thermocline (temperature/density gradient in a layer called the metalimnion) is established during the summer months as the top waters (epilimnion) warm quicker than those at the bottom (hypolimnion). The thermocline essentially blocks circulation between the layers (which is normally provided by wind induced currents) from providing oxygen from the atmosphere and top waters to the bottom waters. Continued deposition of oxygen-demanding substances deplete the dissolved oxygen within the bottom waters, particularly at the mud and water interface. During hydropower generation in the summer, the waters discharged through the Russell Dam are drawn from the hypolimnion. As the summer progresses, the quality of these waters (dissolved oxygen content) degrades until "turnover". Turnover is the recirculation of the waters in the fall when the surface water has cooled to the temperature of the bottom waters, eliminating the temperature - density gradient.

In the early design stage of the Russell Project (July 1972), a joint Federal-State Technical Committee was established to evaluate the water quality characteristics of the project as an integral part of the three-reservoir system. Prior to this time, the State of Georgia had established a minimum of 6.0 milligrams per liter (mg/l) of dissolved oxygen (D.O.) for this portion of the Savannah River (main inflow to the Thurmond Project and the tailwater of the Russell Project). The Savannah District adopted 6.0 mg/l D.O. as the goal for discharges from the Russell Dam into this portion of the Savannah River.

Management of reservoir releases for water quality at the Russell Project lead to the design, installation and operation and maintenance of the Russell oxygen distribution system (RBR O2 system). The RBR O2 system consists of two arrays of rubber (originally ceramic) diffusers near the bottom of the lake. The "pulse" system is located in the forebay on the face of the dam and the "continuous" system is one mile upstream. Oxygen passes through the diffusers in very small bubbles (increasing the surface area to volume ratio to allow absorption into the water column). The two systems increase the oxygen content of the forebay portion of the hypolimnion, and, consequently, the hydropower generation discharge from Russell Dam. By controlling the quantity of oxygen injected through the O2 system, (from about 10 tons per day in May to about 75 tons per day in November before turnover), the Savannah District maintains an average of 6.0 mg/l dissolved oxygen in the Russell discharge.

Occasionally, a need may arise to temporarily modify the water releases from the project to provide a specified downstream flow for a particular event (such as environmental monitoring), to allow additional storage of injected oxygen in the forebay water column prior to discharge, or to control a downstream pollutant. See section 7-12, Deviation from Normal Regulation, below.

R7-07 . Fish and Wildlife .

The Savannah District conducts the following Water Control Management for Fish Management Purposes:

a. Fish Spawning . Water control management for fish management purposes is conducted in accordance with SAD Regulation 1130-2-16 (Exhibit B). At the earliest possible date, Operations Division notifies the Water Control Manager of the beginning and ending of the large-mouth bass spawning period. During the spawning period, the Water Control Manager schedules releases (to the maximum extent possible without jeopardizing other project purposes) so that the downward fluctuation or lowering of the lake level will not exceed 6 inches from the maximum elevation reached during the spawning period. Should it appear that maintaining lake level fluctuations within the six inch limit will not be possible, SAD Water Control Management Branch and the Project Manager are notified by the Water Control Manager as far in advance as possible.

b. Fish Entrainment . The Savannah District restricts discharges at the Russell Project when there is a threat of killing significant numbers of fish. Fish kills at the upstream Hartwell Project and downstream Thurmond Project have involved the blueback herring. The Savannah District consequently developed the Plan of Action to Prevent or Minimize Blueback Herring Entrainment at Hartwell and J. Strom Thurmond Dams (Exhibit H7-C). Should fish kills occur at the Russell Project, procedures similar to that adopted for the Hartwell and Thurmond Projects are instituted for Russell. The likelihood of a fish kill is determined by the Operations Division Fisheries Biologist at the project. Operations Division has a seasonal monitoring program conducted by the Waterways Experiment Station (WES) within the lakes to detect potential fish kills. Should a fish kill occur, notification of personnel will follow the procedures of the current Plan of Action to Prevent or Minimize Blueback Herring Entrainment (most recently prepared in 1995). Power system emergencies that threaten interruption of power and/or brownouts override this policy.

R7-08 . Water Supply .

Although not a specifically authorized project purpose, water supply is an important consideration in the water control management of the upper Savannah River Basin. There are approximately 73 water users that obtain all or a portion of their municipal or industrial water supply from the Savannah River or from Hartwell, Russell and Thurmond Lakes.

The Water Control Manager notifies water users of any impending interruption in their water supplies due to modified project releases, and forwards periodic reports to SAD during droughts showing projected reservoir stages including a "worst case" hydrologic condition.

R7-09 . Hydroelectric Power .

All power produced at Federal projects (except the Tennessee Valley Authority and St. Stephens) in the states of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Alabama is marketed by the Southeast Power Administration (SEPA). SEPA combines the three Savannah District projects with seven Mobile District projects (in the Alabama-Coosa and Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Basins) to form the Georgia-Alabama-South Carolina System. Hydropower may be supplied by any combination of projects within the ten-plant system. Under normal circumstances, if a basin or portion of a basin is unable to meet the power demands expected, that shortage can be transferred to, or "made up" in, another basin. SEPA markets the power through capacity and energy contracts negotiated with certain preference customers for the delivery of energy and the ability to meet peaking demands.

The currently installed capacity of the Richard B. Russell Project is four 75,000 kilowatt conventional generator units (numbered one through four), for a total of 300 megawatts. The addition of four 75,000 kilowatt pump turbine generator units (numbered five through eight) will double the rated power capacity of the Russell plant to 600 megawatts.
R7-10 . Navigation .

Although navigation is not specifically authorized as a project purpose at the Russell Project, the authorizations for both the upstream Hartwell Project and downstream Thurmond Project do include navigation on the lower Savannah River (downstream of the Thurmond Project). Lack of waterborne commerce on the Savannah River Below Augusta Navigation Project has fallen in recent decades to near zero and that navigation project is inactive. Consequently, there is no current operation of the three projects for navigation. Presently, the minimum flow requirement of 5800 cfs that was authorized at the Thurmond Project for navigation on the lower Savannah River has been succeeded by minimum Thurmond discharges that are based on the needs of downstream water supply withdrawals. However, should navigation become active again, Thurmond discharges, as well as Russell and Hartwell discharges, may be regulated to provide suitable navigation depths.

R7-11 . Other .

Incidental spills may occur for debris control (in the spillway), low flow augmentation, special or emergency drawdown, water table considerations, or to accommodate construction or testing.

R7-12 . Deviation from Normal Regulation .

The District Engineer is occasionally requested to deviate from normal regulation of the project. Prior approval for a deviation is obtained from the South Atlantic Division (SAD) Office except as noted in subparagraph a below. Deviation requests usually fall into the following categories:

a. Emergencies . Some emergencies that can be expected are: drowning and other accidents, and failure of operation facilities. Necessary action under emergency conditions is taken immediately unless such action would create equal or worse conditions. The SAD Office is informed as soon as practicable. A written confirmation showing the deviation and conditions will be furnished to SAD.

b. Unplanned minor deviations . There are unplanned instances that create a temporary need for minor deviations from the normal regulation of the lake, although they are not considered emergencies. Construction accounts for the major portion of the incidents and includes utility stream crossings, bridge work, and major construction contracts. Changes in releases are sometimes necessary for maintenance and inspection. Requests for changes of release rates are generally for a few hours to a few days. Each request is analyzed on its merits. Consideration is given to upstream watershed conditions, potential flood threat, conditions of the lake, and possible alternative measures. In the interest of maintaining good public relations, the requests are complied with, providing there are no adverse effects on the overall regulation of the project for the authorized purposes. Approval for these minor deviations will normally be obtained from SAD by telephone. A written confirmation showing the deviation and conditions will be furnished to SAD.

c. Planned deviations . An analysis of conditions, alternatives, expected benefits, probable effects will be coordinated with SAD by telephone, fax or E-mail. Examples of planned deviations could be to prevent fish entrainment, or for drought contingencies. A copy of the drought contingency plan is included as Exhibit M. EXHIBIT R7-A




a. General Information . These "Standing Instructions to the Project Operator for Water Control"; are written in compliance with Paragraph 9-2 of Engineering Manual 1110-2-3600 (Engineering and Design, MANAGEMENT OF WATER CONTROL SYSTEMS, 30 November 1987) and with Engineer Regulation 1110-2-240 (Engineering and Design, WATER CONTROL MANAGEMENT, 8 October 1982).

(1) Project Purposes . The Richard B. Russell Project is operated for Hydropower, Recreation, Fish and Wildlife, Flood Control, Water Supply and Water Quality .

(2) Chain of Command . The Project Operator is responsible to the Water Control Manager for all water control actions.

(3) Structure . The Richard B. Russell Dam is located at Savannah River Mile 259.1, Elbert County, Georgia and Abbeville County, South Carolina. The dam is a concrete gravity and earth embankment structure with a concrete gravity ogee spillway. The Russell Powerhouse is located on the Georgia (west) side, immediately downstream of the dam.

(4) Operations and Maintenance (O&M). All O&M activities are the responsibility of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

b. Role of the Project Operator .

(1) Normal Conditions (dependent on day-to-day situation) . During normal conditions, all releases will be made through the eight turbine units. The water control manager will coordinate the weekly water control actions with SEPA. The Project Operator will then receive instructions from SEPA. This will be increased to a daily basis if the need develops.

(2) Emergency Conditions (flood or drought) . The Project Operator will be instructed by water control managers on a daily or hourly basis for water control actions during flood events and other emergency conditions. In the event that communications with water control managers are cut off during a flood event, the operator should regulate plant discharge in accordance with Plate R7.4, Flood Control Release Schedule, Plate R7.5, Spillway Gate Regulation Schedule, and Plate R7.6, Tainter Gate Rating Curves.


a. Normal Conditions . Project data is recorded hourly by the project operator. The data is retrieved hourly by the water Control manager and loaded into the Water Control Data System. The data is subsequently made available on the Water Management web site at

(1) Pool Elevations in feet NGVD are collected hourly.

(2) Basin Average Precipitation in hundredths of an inch is estimated hourly from NWS doppler radar.

(3) Tailwater Elevations in feet NGVD are collected hourly.

(4) Discharge in cubic feet per second is collected hourly.

(5) Inflow to the lake in cubic feet per second is collected hourly.

(6) Scheduled and Actual Generation in megawatt-hours is collected hourly.

b. Emergency Conditions . Report hourly the elevation, turbine discharge, spillway discharge, and general project status to the Water Control Manager.

c. Regional Hydro-meteorological Conditions . The Project Operator will be informed by the Water Control Manager of regional hydrometeorological conditions that may/will impact the structure.
Exhibit R7-A


a. Normal Conditions . The Project Operator reports directly to the Water Control Manager.

b. Emergency Conditions . The Project Operator will follow the Savannah River Emergency Action Plan (District Pamphlet 1130-2-16, Appendix B) for emergency notification procedures.

c. Inquiries . All significant inquiries received by the Project Operator from citizens, constituents or interest groups regarding water control procedures or actions must be referred directly to the Water Control Manager.

d. Water Control Problems . The Project Operator must immediately notify the Water Control Manager, by the most rapid means available, in the event that an operational malfunction, erosion or other incident occurs that could impact project integrity in general, or water control capability in particular. Such incidents are discussed in Appendix A of DP 1130-2-16, the Emergency Action Plan.




In the Piedmont Physiographic Province at Latitude 34o 01' north, Longitude 82o 36' west
On the Savannah River:
259.1 miles above the mouth
244.7 miles above Savannah, Georgia
59.5 miles above Augusta, Georgia
37.5 miles above Thurmond Dam
29.8 miles below Hartwell Dam
In Elbert County, Georgia and Abbeville County, South Carolina
18 miles southeast of Elberton, Georgia
4 miles southwest of Calhoun Falls, South Carolina
40 miles northeast of Athens, Georgia
DRAINAGE AREA percentage square miles
Above the mouth of the Savannah River 100 10,579
Above Augusta, Georgia (Butler Cr. gage) 71 7,508
Above J. Strom Thurmond Dam 58 6,144
Above Richard B. Russell Dam 27 2,890
Above Hartwell Dam 20 2,088
Basin between Russell Dam and Hartwell Dam 8 802
(One inch of runoff over the Savannah River Basin above Russell Dam equals 154,133 acre-feet)
STORAGE VOLUMES Elevation (ft NGVD) Acre-feet
Spillway design flood 490.0 1,488,155
Standard project flood 484.3 1,305,000
Flood control pool 480.0 1,166,166
Maximum conservation pool 475.0 1,026,200
Minimum conservation pool 470.0 899,400
Conservation storage, usable 470 to 475 126,800
Flood storage 475 to 480 140,000
Surcharge storage 480 to 490 322,000
RESERVOIR AREAS Elevation(s)(ft NGVD) Acres
Spillway design flood ( Max Surcharge Pool) 490.0 35,150
Standard project flood 484.3 31,770
Flood control pool 480.0 29,340
Maximum conservation pool 475.0 26,653
Minimum conservation pool 470.0 24,117
Limits of clearing 465 to 477 5,880
462 to 476 4,938
440 to 462 8,938
below 440 12,400
430 to 465 11,890
below 430 7,540
Top of dam 495.0
Maximum Observed Pool 479.754/14/2003
Minimum Observed Pool 468.7011/15/1984
Spillway design flood 490.0
Induced surcharge pool 485.0
Standard project flood 484.3
Top of tainter gates, closed 481.0
Flood control pool 480.0
Maximum conservation pool 475.0
Average conservation pool 473.0
Minimum conservation pool 470.0
Spillway crest 436.0
Intake invert for Hydropower 370.0
Spillway bucket lip 357.25
Elevation, bottom of sluice 320.0
Draft tube exit 265.0
Bottom of draft tube (conventional units) 262.0
Bottom of draft tube (pump units) 250.0
Switchyard 358
Distributor 300
Bottom of draft tube 262
Bottom of pump unit 250
Spillway design flood 356.0 801,000 cfs
Standard project flood 343.0 360,000 cfs
Powerhouse Design flood 350.0680,000 cfs
Maximum pool of record 332.5
Four units operating at average head 327.5
Maximum static condition 312.0
Streambed 300.0
Concrete gravity and earth embankment with concrete gravity ogee spillway
Length of concrete sections 1,883.5 feet
Length of earth embankment, Georgia 2,180.0 feet
Length of earth embankment, South Carolina 460.0 feet
Maximum height of concrete section 210 feet
Maximum height of earth embankment 195 feet
Length of intake section 284 feet
Number of sluices 5 
Width of sluices 5.67 feet
Height of sluices 10 feet
Gross length of spillway 590 feet
Length of clear opening 500 feet
Tainter gates (10) each 50 feet wide by 45 feet high
Flip bucket 45 degrees
Radius of bucket 50 feet
DESIGN FLOWS Cubic feet per second
Standard Project Flood (SPF) Peak Reservoir Inflow 518,000 cfs
Maximum Estimated Outflow 360,000 cfs
Spillway Design Flood 
Peak Reservoir Inflow 1,035,210 cfs
Maximum Estimated Outflow 801,500 cfs
Initial units 4 conventional
Supplemental Units 4 pump turbine
Maximum net operating head 162 feet
Average operating head 144 feet
Minimum operation head 134 feet
Turbine capacity at average head 104,000 hp per unit
Maximum discharge at minimum head 8,000 cfs per unit
Length of draft tube 70 feet
Initial installation four conventional units 80 MW
Supplemental installation
four pump turbine units 80 MW
Total installation 640,000 kW
Average annual energy 466,090,000 kilowatt-hours
Generator rating (95% pf) 78,947 kVa
Generator speed 120 rpm
Generator voltage 13.8 kV
Transformer rating, two 3-phase, each 182,000 kVa
Transformer voltages 13.2 to 230 kV
Location west (Georgia) bank, downstream
Initial number of transformer bays 2
Ultimate number of transformer bays 3
Line positions 4
Equipment voltage 230 kV