The sides of the highway are separated by a dam, with Lake Acworth nearly full and Lake Allatoona full only of boat docks resting on dirt.
But Glenn Page, general manager of the Cobb-Marietta Water Authority, said that is normal for this time of year. Lake Allatoona’s elevation read 829.8 feet on Friday, just below normal elevation of 830.6 feet.
“That’s always that way,” Page said. “Probably by December, you will just see a trickle.”
Typically, Lake Allatoona drops 17 feet in elevation from a high of 840 feet in the summer, Page said.
The water authority sells water to Cobb and Paulding counties, as well as cities like Marietta, Smyrna, Powder Springs and Austell. Page said the authority gets about half its water from Lake Allatoona.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the lake, drops Lake Allatoona’s levels in the winter to protect the area along the Etowah River from flooding. Pat Robbins, spokesman for the Corps of Engineers Mobile District, said this is because winter months bring typically heavier rains to the area.
“That lake can fill up pretty fast with normal rainfall,” Robbins said.
While water may get low in the backwater areas, Page said the channel remains deep in the main body of the lake, where the authority draws water from.
But some residents would like to see the lake’s capacity expanded, particularly with water concerns for the future.
The water authority will soon open the Hickory Log Creek Reservoir, located up the Etowah River from Lake Allatoona. Page said that reservoir will release water into the Etowah for capture in Allatoona, if needed. That could then go toward the water supply.
But Page acknowledges that more will need to be done to meet the growing water demands of the area, including possibly taking water in Allatoona that is now stored for hydroelectric power and reallocating it for drinking water use. It is uncertain whether such a move could be achieved with Corps of Engineer approval or whether it would take an act of Congress.
Victoria Kemp, who lives on Lake Allatoona’s now-dry southern end, said that more could be accomplished if the lake were to be dredged. She said removing the silt built up in the lake would make more drinking water available without endangering the power supply.
“It would be safer for the recreational users,” Kemp said. “We would have more water for the county. We would have more water downstream.”
But Robbins said that dredging the silt would mean the Corps of Engineers would have to find someplace to put the silt, while Page said it would only create a “negligible” amount of difference in available water.