Posted: Thursday, August 9th 2012 at 7:48pm
$200 million water project not necessary
By Marc Eggers Staff
GAINESVILLE – Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling less than two months ago allowing Lake Lanier to be used as a drinking water source for the City of Gainesville, costly plans to pump water from the proposed Glades Reservoir into the existing Cedar Creek Reservoir have been set aside.
That announcement was made at Thursday evening’s County Commission meeting by Chairman Tom Oliver.
“This (the Court and Corp decision) has just relieved Hall County of tying the Cedar Creek Reservoir in with the Glades. The piping we had envisioned early on to go from Glades to Cedar Creek will no longer be an option,” Oliver said.
“This will save $200 million plus,” Oliver added.
The piping system became part of County’s future water strategy when it appeared Gainesville would not be allowed to withdraw water from the Chattahoochee River system. Cedar Creek Reservoir, located in eastern Hall County, is in the Oconee River basin and not a part of the Chattahoochee restriction.
The plan was to transfer water from the proposed 850-acre Glades Reservoir (located in the Chattahoochee basin) to the Cedar Creek Reservoir (in the Oconee basin) through a series of pipes and pumps thereby circumventing the ban.
All that won’t be necessary now.
Waters stored in Glades Reservoir and eventually released will now follow their natural course, entering Lake Lanier where they can be withdrawn by the City of Gainesville.
Commissioner Craig Lutz breathed a sigh of relief and pointed out that once the permit for the Glades Reservoir was issued the project had a ten year window in which to be completed.
“I’ve been told now,” Lutz said, “that we don’t have to start the Glades Reservoir construction project until it’s actually needed.”
“That’s a big relief to a lot of people…frankly, I didn’t see how we were going to be able to pay for it right away.”
Commissioner Scott Gibbs brought a word of caution. “I still want everyone to realize that even though they’ve allocated Lanier for drinking water…it still is a federal reservoir and they still have 100 percent control.”
“Glades,” Gibbs pointed out, “will be a Hall County reservoir of which we have 100 percent control.”
Commissioner Billy Powell added that the City of Gainesville said they were in agreement with the Commission’s decision.
OTHER COMMISSION ACTION
Despite dissenting votes from Chairman Oliver and Commissioner Powell, the Commission approved hiring the Mercer Group of Atlanta to provide consultation services for analyzing the best direction for the County to take regarding solid waste services.
The Commission has opened the possibility for privatization of solid waste services in an effort to control costs and realize potential revenues.
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