Funny you should ask here is a summary directly from Tommy Boozer who is over the lake:
They had originally told contractors working on lake dredging (around docks) to complete their work by March 1st. Now they have moved that date back to May 1st.
The project is significantly behind schedule (due to both weather and construction problems), and they had a press conference last Thursday to announce that. Most of what is in this note, was covered in the press conference (I think).
They are going to try to raise the lake to 347 ft (about a 2 ft increase) immediately. They will hold it at this level until probably July, and then ask FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) for permission to begin raising it to 358 feet.
Two things will determine how fast the lake gets to 358 feet. Obviously, rainfall amounts both locally and in the Upstate, but of at least equal importance is they have to do it in stages to allow the dam to re-saturate.
Assuming normal rainfall amounts, and barring a Tropical Storm, he doubts we will see it much above the 347 foot mark, this summer.
They are required to maintain a certain amount of fixed outfall (letting water out of the lake) to maintain the effluent discharge permits for several industries located downstream on the Saluda, e.g. Honeywell and others. They must maintain sufficient waterflow to provide dilution and mixing for these permitted effluents. This cancels out some of the rainfall that people would expect to raise lake levels.
Once they obtain FERC permission to raise the lake, it will take SCE&G lake management personnel about 3 weeks to survey the docks on the lake, and determine which ones will likely be "free-floating" when the lake rises, and notify those property owners of appropriate action required on their parts.
Lake management personnel also have to relocate several hundred navigational bouys on the lake. This may also impact the schedule, to maintain safe boating on the lake, during the refill.
There is no SCANA or SCE&G website that has an up-to-date schedule of the Dam Construction Project. They view the project timeline as dynamic and ever changing, and so will use press conferences to communicate updates to the schedule.
Realistically, we may not see Lake Murray at the 358 foot level until the summer of 2005, unless several construction delays are made-up, and we get significant rainfalls, e.g. a Tropical Storm or two.
That is a summary directly from the "horses mouth". I can already tell the lake is rising some but it will not be "full" this summer. I have extremely deep water so my dock will be fine this summer. As far as boating it should be fine because we boated last year without any major problems just minor inconveniences.
One thing of note: Lake Murray Marina (Dockside restaurant) is being torn down to build a 256 unit condominium tower. Now Lighthouse marina (Rusty Anchor and Quarterdeck) will REALLY be packed.