Fontana Inspections Will Require No Deep Drawdown of Lake

January 16, 2014

ROBINSVILLE, N.C.  — The Tennessee Valley Authority has determined that an extreme lowering or “deep drawdown” of Fontana Lake in Western North Carolina will not be required to perform this round of inspections and maintenance on and inside the dam.

TVA has a stringent dam safety inspection program and a drawdown was being considered as an option to inspect critical components inside the dam. However, TVA engineers determined the components can be inspected and tested at normal lake level elevations. This method will not compromise dam safety.

TVA realizes the economic impact a deep drawdown can have and takes great care in evaluating those actions. In making these decisions, the safety of the dam, the public and TVA employees are TVA’s top priorities.

Future deep drawdowns may be needed at Fontana or any of TVA’s other dams to perform maintenance and inspections. If required, TVA will release information in advance so local residents and businesses have time to prepare.

Lake levels will be managed according to Fontana’s normal operating guide which can be found at or by downloading TVA’s free lake information app for your smartphone or tablet.

Fontana Dam has three power generating units and is as tall as a 50-story building. At 480 feet high, Fontana is the tallest dam east of the Rockies. Located on the Little Tennessee River in Western North Carolina, Fontana Lake provides 238 miles of shoreline and 10,230 acres of water surface for recreation.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

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