GAINESVILLE - Federal officials say they're lowering Lake Lanier's water level and increasing the flow of water downstream to ease drought conditions in parts of Georgia, Alabama and Florida.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials have said they will release more water from Lanier and West Point Lake because of drought conditions affecting river basins in Georgia, eastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Lisa Parker said the extra water being released is needed downstream to maintain hydropower, fish and wildlife and water quality in those areas.
Parker said residents around Lanier will see the level drop steadily between now and the end of the year.
"Right now, we're anticipating by about mid-December that Lake Lanier will be about 1055 [feet] or so," she said.
That level is not a record low, however. Parker said that happened on December 26, 2008 when the level was 1050.79. Full pool is 1071.
Parker said at this point, there's only one thing that can help the entire management area.
"We are in a sustained drought, and we need, quite frankly, water."
She said the Corps has also drawn down Walter F. George Lake, on the Alabama-Georgia line, as much as it can.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.