Low water levels threaten Lake Thurmond marina - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Low water levels threaten Lake Thurmond marina

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LINCOLNTON, GA (WFXG) -

The water level at Lake Thurmond is nine and a half feet below normal, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Marina co-owner Jerry Clontz fears the low levels may force Soap Creek Marina to close.

"We've lost a lot business and with our finances, frankly we're strapped," said Clontz.

Clontz is strapped to a sinking boat but he's trying to save the marina.

"We're not looking at profits right now, we're looking at existence," explained Clontz.

He says about 50 people dock their boats at Soap Creek Marina and stay in the cabins or the campground now. But he says that's a small number when you consider they had twice as many visitors before the water levels dropped.

Clontz says they're losing tens of thousands of dollars a year and he says he can't keep that up for much longer.

The restaurant on the property has already closed because of the financial strain.

"It makes you want to cry," Clontz, said.

He says they've lost most of their customers because of the low water level and an Army Corps law that prohibits people from staying at a campground for more than 30 days.

Clontz says he believes the Corps is also at fault for the low levels because they're sending water downstream when the lake is already low.

But Corps spokesperson Billy Birdwell says they have to send water downstream for things such as industry and drinking water in Augusta and Savannah.

Birdwell says they have given out the smallest amount of water the state allows during the past three months.

Clontz said, "Our situation is very fragile; the next few months are going to be very interesting."

He says his goal is to try and hang on until June. He's hoping by then there will be more water and more visitors.

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