U. S. Army Corps of Engineers - Mobile District
Water Supply and Water Quality
Much of the water supply in the Southeast comes from streams, rivers, or
lakes. Years ago there was sufficient flow in our streams and rivers even in
the worst droughts to supply the relatively small water supply use. However,
as our cities and industries have grown they have more and more become dependent
on the use of stored waters to assure a dependable water supply. Whether water
is withdrawn from rivers below dams or withdrawn from lakes directly, today's
uses depend on stored water -- water that has been held back by dams when
conditions were wetter.
Many dams have obligations for minimum releases for environmental protection.
These minimum flow releases from dams help to assure healthy aquatic life even
when treated or used waters are added at downstream points.
Releases or withdrawals for water supply and water quality protection usually
do not by themselves cause lake levels to fall. However, in an extended, severe
drought such as occurred in the late 1980's water supply and water quality alone
will cause lakes to slowly fall.
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