KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Tennessee Valley Authority claims its network of dams and reservoirs prevented more than $800 million in flood damage along the Tennessee River and its tributaries last month.
The energy giant said it's 49 dams stored and slowly released water following the third-wettest January in its history. The eastern part of the valley received around 10 inches of rain, while about eight inches fell in the Chattanooga area and west Tennessee.
“We hold water behind the dams in order to minimize downstream flood impacts. After the high water crested on the Tennessee River and its tributary rivers, we started gradually releasing water out of the tributary reservoirs to recover storage space and to prepare for the next rain event,” said John McCormick, senior vice president, River Operations and Renewables.
In the Chattanooga region alone, TVA estimates it was able to prevent over $700 million in damages. Cleanup in Lenoir City would've run more than $61 million, according to TVA numbers, while Knoxville would've been hit to the tune of $7 million.
In an average year, the TVA's reservoir operation prevent around a quarter-billion dollars in flood damage the TVA estimates.