Lake Hartwell is a man-made reservoir, constructed by the Savannah District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1955 to 1963 by damming the Savannah River. Lake Hartwell consists of a number of large arms, including the Keowee, Seneca River, and Twelvemile Creek Arms in the northern portion of the lake and the Tugaloo, Six and Twenty Mile Creek, Coneross Creek, and Eighteen Mile Creek Arms in the main part of the lake.
At normal pool elevations, Lake Hartwell has a surface area of approximately 56,000 acres and 962 miles of shoreline. Lake Hartwell is maintained by the Corps at a pool elevation of 660 feet above mean sea level (MSL) during the summer (considered to be the normal elevation) and 656 ft. MSL from mid-October through mid-December. The average monthly flow of water into the lake (average from 1962-1992 data) ranged from 2,693 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 6,222 cfs, and the lake has a holding capacity of 830 billion gallons of water. Lake Hartwell is used for public recreation, flood control, and power generation. Recreation activities at the lake include swimming, boating, water-skiing, fishing, picnicking and camping.
As of December 31, 2007, the lake level was 647.88 ft. MSL, leaving the Savannah district still in drought level two. (Robertson, Jon, "Lake levels up a little; drought persists", Daily Messenger, Thursday, January 3, 2008, Volume 103, Number 255, page 1A.)
Lake Hartwell Restoration and Compensation Determination Plan - Draft for Public Review, February 2005, page 5, (which copy is courtesy of Ken Revis-Wagner, out of the Nick's library).
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