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Canal levels maintained even while the river rises

Posted: July 16, 2013 - 11:04pm
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Reed Creek is a raging torrent where it empties into the Augusta Canal at Savannah Rapids Pavilion in the wake of recent rains. Headgates at the Savannah River keep the canal's water level stable.
Reed Creek is a raging torrent where it empties into the Augusta Canal at Savannah Rapids Pavilion in the wake of recent rains. Headgates at the Savannah River keep the canal's water level stable.

Although the Savannah River and its tributaries can rise and fall drastically with heavy rains, the Augusta Canal’s gates and control structures enable the Augusta Utilities Department to keep it at reasonably steady levels.

Most of the canal’s flow comes in from the headgates that adjoin the river below Savannah Rapids Pavilion, but three main tributaries – Rae’s, Reed and Rock creeks – all empty into the canal downstream from those headgates.

When those tributary creeks are flooding and adding flow to the canal, the headgates can be adjusted and tightened to allow less river water and maintain a relatively steady flow, said Dayton Sherrouse, the Augusta Canal Authority’s executive director.

The canal’s other gates below King, Sibley and Enterprise textile mills also return canal water to the river, as do the gates at the city’s Waterworks Pumping Station, which uses part of the canal’s flow to provide hydromechanical power to pump raw water to the city’s drinking water treatment plant on Highland Avenue.

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