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TVA keeping a close watch on water levels up and down the Tennessee River

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Tennessee Valley Authority is working around the clock to monitor the rain event Monday and manage the Tennessee River system as best as it can.

“1.8 million gallons per second coming over and pulling through the turbines,” Kristine Cooper with TVA Public Relations says.

The TVA is keeping a close watch on the Tennessee River and making changes as needed to manage potential flooding. “We work with federal, state, and local authorities in keeping them abreast of what’s going on with the river, what we’re doing, so they understand what we’re doing to manage it,” Cooper explains.

From there, those agencies make the necessary decisions and alert the public if need be. The goal is to keep those water levels up and down the Tennessee River a consistent level, although they are higher than normal right now.

TVA owns land along the whole river — a flood zone so to speak. “We understand where that band is, up and down the river how high that water can be, what that flood level is, and right now we’re below those levels in most of the areas, so we’re managing it to make sure that stays where it needs to be.”

As for residents who live along the river, TVA asks to stay alert. TVA is doing its best to maintain those levels and prevent flooding from the river, but don’t let your guard down.

For a weather event like the one north Alabama is experiencing, each dam up and down the river is working in a system to prevent flooding from the river as much as possible. It’s a precise operation that directly affects each aspect involved. “We have nine main dams on the Tennessee River,” Cooper explains, “All nine of those dams right now are spilling and pulling water to manage, so we mitigate as much flood activity as possible.”

Each dam plays a part in that mitigation. If one wasn’t doing what it was supposed to, it would have an influence on other areas.

The planning to manage the river is constant, and a team is always monitoring activity. For the weather systems north Alabama has been seeing over these last few days, it’s all hands on deck.

“As a system like this begins to come through, we begin to look at how much water is coming through, where the different areas are that maybe we can manage it a little better, and we work on a 24 hour basis,” Cooper explains.

It’s a multi-state effort to mitigate the potential flooding and manage the river. “We are continuing to monitor the system and make sure that we can do what we can to manage the water,” Cooper says.