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Review of Selected Documents Related to Flooding at City of Salisbury Facilities on the Yadkin River Upstream from High Rock Dam, North Carolina, September 2007

October 27, 2007

This report documents a review of the hydraulic and sediment-transport models developed by the City of Salisbury, Alcoa Power Generating, Inc., and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to address issues of flooding and sedimentation in the vicinity of Salisbury's water-supply intake 19.4 miles upstream from High Rock Dam. The objective of the review was to determine if the modeling results submitted by Salisbury clearly demonstrate that the presence of High Rock Dam has led to an increase in water levels at Salisbury facilities or, conversely, if the documents of Alcoa Power Generating, Inc., demonstrate that High Rock Dam has not had an effect on water levels at Salisbury facilities. No new data were collected as a part of the review, and the models developed by involved parties were not tested during the review. Some historical discharge-measurement notes and previously published reports were checked as part of the review.

The one-dimensional hydraulic modeling results submitted by Alcoa Power Generating, Inc., did not assess the effects of changes in bathymetry on changes in flood levels at Salisbury's facilities because pre-impoundment conditions were not simulated. Hydraulic modeling performed by consultants for the City of Salisbury seems to indicate that both the presence of the dam in the absence of any post-impoundment sedimentation and changes in bathymetry between pre-impoundment and 1997 conditions have resulted in increased water levels relative to pre-impoundment conditions at Salisbury facilities on the Yadkin River for a fairly wide range of flows. The degree to which the dam and the changes in bathymetry have affected flood levels at the Salisbury facilities relative to pre-impoundment conditions is open to discussion because of uncertainty in topographic/bathymetric data and the absence of calibration and sensitivity testing of the hydraulic models. None of the three hydraulic models appears to have been calibrated to or tested against measurements, and no sensitivity testing was reported. Sediment-transport modeling results submitted by the City of Salisbury were calibrated, well documented, and provide a good understanding of the expected growth of the sediment delta in the upper end of High Rock Lake. Simulations made using this model seem to have demonstrated that the presence of the dam and the growth of the delta have resulted in increases in water-surface elevations at Salisbury's facilities over a range of flows and that these increases are expected to increase through time if current conditions remain unchanged.

Publication Year 2007
Title Review of Selected Documents Related to Flooding at City of Salisbury Facilities on the Yadkin River Upstream from High Rock Dam, North Carolina, September 2007
DOI 10.3133/ofr20071314
Authors Jerad D. Bales
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2007-1314
Index ID ofr20071314
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization North Carolina Water Science Center