USACE CWMS - Savannah River Watershed

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Created: Jun 26, 2018 at 6:34 p.m.
Last updated: Jun 27, 2018 at 4:47 p.m.
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The Corps Water Management System (CWMS) includes four interrelated models to assist with water management for the basin:

- GeoHMS (Geospatial Hydrologic Modeling Extension)
- ResSIM (Reservoir System Simulation)
- RAS (River Analysis System)
- FIA (Flood Impact Analysis)

The Savannah River basin is long and relatively narrow, with the long axis lying in a northwest-southeast direction. The Savannah River, along with some of its tributaries, forms the border between the states of Georgia and South Carolina. The Savannah River drains 5,870 square miles of eastern Georgia, 4,530 square miles of western South Carolina, and 179 square miles of southern North Carolina for a total of 10,579 square miles. Like other basins of large rivers in the Southeast which flow into the Atlantic Ocean, the Savannah River Basin embraces three distinct areas: the mountain section, the Piedmont Province and the Coastal Plain. Elevations in the basin range from sea level at Savannah to approximately 5,030 feet at Little Bald in North Carolina. The Savannah River is formed in the Piedmont region by the confluence of the Seneca and Tugaloo Rivers. This confluence was formerly known as “The Forks”, but is currently inundated beneath Lake Hartwell. The Savannah River crosses the Atlantic Seaboard fall line at Augusta, where it enters the Atlantic Coastal plain. Downstream of Augusta, the river becomes more sinuous and meanders across its flood plain. The lower 50 miles, to just upstream of the confluence with Ebenezer Creek, is tidally influenced. The lower part of the river becomes estuarine before entering the Atlantic Ocean at Tybee Roads.

The river's entire length of 312 miles is regulated by three adjoining Corps of Engineers multipurpose projects, each with appreciable storage. The three lakes, Hartwell, Richard B. Russell and J. Strom Thurmond, form a chain along the Georgia-South Carolina border 120 miles long. Of the 6,144 square mile drainage basin above Thurmond Dam, 3,254 square miles (53%) are between Thurmond and Russell Dams, 802 square miles (13%) are between Russell and Hartwell Dams, and 2,088 square miles (34%) are above Hartwell Dam. Hartwell Dam is at River Mile 305.0, 7 miles east of Hartwell, Georgia. When the lake level is at elevation 660 ft. NGVD, the top of conservation pool, the reservoir extends 49 miles up the Tugaloo River (Georgia), and 45 miles up the Seneca and Keowee Rivers (South Carolina). The shoreline at elevation 660 is about 962 miles long, excluding island areas. The reservoir has a total storage capacity of 2,550,000 acre-feet below elevation 660 ft. Russell Dam is at River Mile 275.2 in Elbert County, Georgia and Abbeville County, South Carolina. The dam is 18 miles southwest of Elberton, Georgia, 4 miles southwest of Calhoun Falls, South Carolina, and 40 miles northeast of Athens, Georgia. At top of conservation pool, elevation 475, the reservoir has a useable storage capacity of 126,800 acre-feet and 1,166,166 acre-feet of total storage at top of flood control pool, elevation 480. Richard B. Russell Dam was the third multiple-purpose project that the Federal Government built in the basin. Operation of the project began in January 1985. Thurmond Dam is at River Mile 237.7, on the Savannah River, 22 miles upstream of Augusta, Georgia. The reservoir at top of the flood control pool, elevation 335, has an area of 78,500 acres. At elevation 330, top of conservation pool, the reservoir extends about 40 miles up the Savannah River and about 30 miles up Little River (Georgia), and has about 1,050 miles of shoreline, excluding island areas. The reservoir has a total storage capacity of 2,510,000 acre-feet below elevation 330. The river is largely inundated between Hartwell Dam and Thurmond Dam, only flowing free for a two mile stretch below Hartwell Dam.

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Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
['Decimal degrees']
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How to Cite

Myers, J. (2018). USACE CWMS - Savannah River Watershed, HydroShare,

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.


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