A North Georgia county wants to expand a reservoir project since a federal ruling threatens its future water supply. Opponents say it’s unnecessary and a waste of money.
Hall County wants to dam a tributary of the Chattahoochee River in order to create an 850 acre lake called Glades Reservoir.
It was first proposed as a private project a couple of years ago that only released 6 million gallons a day.
But since then a federal judge ruled the state had little water rights over Lake Lanier, and that limits how much water Hall County can take out come 2012.
So the county is taking over the project to meet its and neighboring areas growing water needs. It wants to be able to pump 80 million gallons out daily.
Hall county administrator Nikki Young says they don’t want to wait on Georgia and neighboring states to negotiate a solution or see if the ruling gets appealed.
"We don’t want to bank our fifty year water supply needs based on decisions that congress or other states make, we want to make sure we got that secured here locally," says Young.
Upper Chattahoochee River Keeper Sally Bethea says that’s an expensive approach. The reservoir would cost residents over 300 million dollars.
"We’re concerned there’s going to be a trend to dam up every tributary flowing into Lake Lanier and this one is just the first of many proposals in an effort to simply get around the corps of engineers," says Bethea.
Bethea wants the whole state focused on a water-sharing agreement with Florida and Alabama and conservation and efficiency efforts. She says her group will sue to stop the project if it comes to that. But it’s still early in the process, the county is just getting its paperwork together to apply for a permit.