Lake Keowee is a man–made reservoir in the United States in the state of South Carolina shaped somewhat like a Christmas tree. It is notable for having been created to serve the needs of a power utility (Duke Energy) as well as public recreational purposes. It is approximately 26 miles long, 3 miles wide, with an average depth of 54 feet, and a shoreline measured at 300 miles in total, and is approximately 800 feet above sea level. It began in 1971 as a massive demolition and building project, including the construction of two large dams––Keowee Dam and Little River Dam––and covered 18,372 acres of the state. The lake collects or impounds waters from the Keowee River and the Little River and others, and the outflows below the respective dams join to form the Seneca River which flows into the larger Savannah River. Lake water helps to cool Duke Energy's three nuclear reactors located at the Oconee Nuclear Generating Station. In addition, the force of falling water through gravity helps generate hydroelectric power. The Keowee Hydro Station generates 158 megawatts from the lake's outflows. In addition, Lake Keowee has been touted as a recreational destination for fishing, boating, swimming, sailing, kayaking and other watersports, and the lake has been described as having pure and clean water. The name Keowee is a Cherokee name roughly translated as "place of the mullberries." The former Keowee River, which was inundated by Lake Keowee, had been part of the Cherokee Lower Towns region, and Keowee Town had been located on the bank of the Keowee River.
Homes in the lake area have been constructed and bought by persons seeking retirement as well as persons who love lake-related outdoor activity. Many residents own boats; summer weekends were described in one report as busier than weekdays in terms of boaters using the lake. Two residents reported their experience with a lake house:
Summer weekends on the lake are busy, but during the week you might only see four or five boats go by all day. ... We’ll see kayaks and a few sailboats, but mostly it’s motorboats on the lake. Our kids water-ski and wakeboard. We also have three dogs, and within the first five minutes of arriving they are in the lake, too. The house, more than anything, has been a gathering place for our family. We do a lot of entertaining there, from hosting Tom’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary party to birthday celebrations. Our son is getting married soon, and the reception will be at the house. Even when not entertaining, we are there almost every weekend in the summer. Tom is a golfer, but I can sit out on the deck looking out on the lake all day.—report in The New York Times