water level depth meter

If you’ve been to Lake Lanier multiple times, you might have noticed a difference in the size of the beaches, the length of boat ramps, or the height of docks from the water. Many factors go into the lake’s shifting levels, from rainfall and soil moisture, to the US Army Corp of Engineers’ regulation of the Buford Dam and Morgan Falls Dam. In 2007, the Lake Lanier level dropped to a record low of 20 feet below full pool (elevation of 1050.79 ft). The record high was in 1964 when the lake reached a high of 6 feet above full pool (elevation of 1077.2). Many out of town buyers are surprised when I tell them that the lake level fluctuates quite often. 

Much of Georgia, Alabama and Florida depend on water released by Buford Dam to provide drinking water (including the entire metro Atlanta area), as well as supporting endangered marine species, and a variety of other purposes. But the ebb and flow of Lake Lanier’s water levels are especially important to understand when you own a lakeside property. 

Why Water Levels Matter For Buyers and Homeowners

Boats  in a little harbor during an outflow, low water level, fishing industryThe existence and placement of a dock is one of the most important features of a lake home. There have been buyers who were unaware of fluctuation of lake levels and have purchased homes when the water level was at full pool or higher. Imagine their surprise when they experienced a drought and all of a sudden their dock was sitting in dry mud. Dry mud can not only damage your dock and/or boat, but it doesn’t look good, and will definitely affect the selling price of your lake home. The Corps of Engineers will allow floating docks to be pushed out to deeper water if there is enough space and you are not blocking any neighbors from accessing their dock. 

Buyers Should Know The Water Level Under The Dock When Purchasing A Lake Home

Floating swimming raft dock on a forest lake

If you are preparing to list your home, make sure that your dock is easy to access and pushed out (if necessary) for potential buyers to see that you have enough water to keep your dock afloat.  If a potential buyer is educated about water level fluctuation, they will be paying attention to this when shopping for a home. 

In May 2019 the Lake Lanier water level was at another record high and it also affected many homeowners. In stark contrast from the drought, many dock ramps were under water and boats were inaccessible. Water was coming up to dock’s electrical boxes causing a safety concern for many homeowners. Personal property flooding and shoreline erosion were increasing. The Corps began releasing more water than normal from Buford Dam causing the Chattahoochee River to swell and to send more water downstream.

Find An Experienced Realtor

mansion on water with boatIt’s clear to any lake home owner that the shifting lake levels affect more than just the walk between your house and your dock! By understanding how these changes can affect your property, you can be prepared to save yourself from the cost and hassle of damages to your dock, boat, and land. Tools like this interactive water level chart will help you track levels, but being able to ensure your property is adequately prepared takes knowledge and experience. So when listing or purchasing a lake home, always go with a trusted realtor who is specifically knowledgeable in lakeside property. I have years of experience in placing people on Lake Lanier, and will not only find you the home of your dreams, but help you understand all the nuance and intricacies of owning your own lake home!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This