Drought has TN lakes, rivers dangerously low - WSMV Channel 4

Drought has TN lakes, rivers dangerously low

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Weeks of heat and a dangerous deficit of rain is starting to drain bodies of water across Middle Tennessee.

The Army Corps of Engineers released startling news Tuesday that Percy Priest Lake is more than 1 1/2 feet lower than it has ever been on this date and nearly 4 feet below where it should be right now.

Corps officials said if this trend continues, it could cause taste and odor issues in area drinking water, cause water shortages for Middle Tennessee cities and even disrupt production at power plants.

It's easy to see the lack of water in the Harpeth River, where Foggy Bottom Canoe and Kayak is starting to literally scrape rock bottom.

"This is even worse than some Augusts," said owner David Hutcherson.

Canoeing is popular across Middle Tennessee, and the biggest water day of the year - whether it's on the Harpeth, Buffalo or Duck rivers - is July 4. Now, activities planned for that day could be in serious jeopardy.

"We've only had to shut down one time in 28 years. And it looks like we might be getting close to that again," Hutcherson said.

The lower water levels also mean more money lost as companies replace damaged boats.

"It's hard. We've got rocks in there that like to eat canoes," Hutcherson said.

Corps officials said about 5 1/2 inches of rain would put area bodies of water back to normal levels.

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