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Monday, December 20, 2010 - 11:10am

Study: New Reservoirs Not Answer

Updated: 4 years ago.
North Georgia's Lake Lanier is the reservoir at the center of the tri-state water war dispute. (photo-Edgar Treiguts)

A just-released study shows building new reservoirs in Georgia is not a long-term answer to the state’s growing water needs. The finding flies in the face of a plan from Governor-elect Nathan Deal. Last week he told state lawmakers he wants to build new reservoirs to help solve Georgia’s water needs.

The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal focused on water sustainability for the Southwestern U.S., but used East Coast states as a comparison. And the group of researchers found there’s a relatively low capacity for water storage in the Southeast.

University of Georgia researcher John Kominoski was part of the research group. He says there’s a basic reason for Georgia’s low storage capacity.

“Our reservoirs are pretty shallow -- they don’t store as much water as reservoirs in the Southwest. So because of that, they lose a lot of water to evaporation.”

And Kominoski says if more reservoirs are built, more water is susceptible to evaporation -- thus leaving less to send to downstream users.

Kominoski says the top of any long-term approach to solving water issues has to be conservation, along with doing more with reclaimed water technologies.

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