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A calibrated and verified transient flow-temperature model was used to evaluate the effects of flow regulation and powerplant loadings on the natural temperature regime of the Chattahoochee River in northeast Georgia. Estimates were made of both instantaneous and average natural temperatures in the river during an 8-day period in August 1976. Differences between the computed average natural temperature and an independent estimate of natural temperature based on observed equilibrium temperatures were less than 0.5?C. Downstream of the powerplants, the combined thermal effects of flow regulation and powerplant effluents resulted in mean daily river temperatures about equal to or less than computed mean natural temperatures. Thus the thermal impact of heated effluents was offset by the cooling effects of structural regulation. An independent analysis of historical river- and air-temperature data, although considerably less accurate than model computations, provided substantially the same result. The range and rates of change of computed natural diurnal temperature fluctuations were considerably less than those in the river at the time of this study in 1976. The models also were used to simulate summer river temperatures using estimated year 2000 flow conditions and meteorologic data collected during 1976. Except during periods of peak water-supply demand, differences between computed year 2000 river temperatures and observed 1976 temperatures were less than 2?C.
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Impact of flow regulation and powerplant effluents on the flow and temperature regimes of the Chattahoochee River; Atlanta to Whitesburg, Georgia