Raleigh requests lake level increase

April 9, 2008 6:40:46 PM PDT
Raleigh's written request to keep Falls Lake two feet above normal has not yet been received by the Army Corps of Engineers, but the man who operates Falls Lake for the Corps, says he already knows the answer.

"I would expect it to be 'no'. Just, uh, unfortunately we've got these other missions that we're obligated to fulfill," said Tom Freeman with the Army Corps of Engineers.

"The letter just went out earlier this week, and I think there should be time for further discussion before a final decision is made," Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said.

The Corps of Engineers says there are many reasons for denying Raleigh's request to leave lake levels two feet above normal.

They say raising the level will put trees into the lake, killing them and many thousands more around the lake.

Those trees will fall in the water and further pollute the sediment pool at the bottom of the lake.

Freeman adds the Corps' mission -mandated by congress- has many objectives.

Supplying Raleigh with water is just one of them. Flood control is also a primary factor and the lake needs to have room for unexpected rains.

That is why millions of gallons have been pouring out of the lake since recent rains overfilled it, and why the Corps says it may increase the outflow in the coming days.

"There are lots of others involved and we do need to keep all that in mind," Meeker said. "What's changed though is that instead of the flood control being the only concerns now apparently the drought is a major issue."


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