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Friday, February 18, 2011 - 1:03pm

Bill Would Allow Public-Private Reservoirs

Gov. Nathan Deal's administration or local governments could contract with private partners to build reservoirs and other water projects in Georgia under legislation proposed by state lawmakers.

Sen. Ross Tolleson said Friday his bill would allow local government officials to partner with private firms to build reservoirs, water treatment plans or other infrastructure. Deal has said he wants to build a series of reservoirs that he believes will ease Georgia's ongoing water feuds with Alabama and Florida.

The bill would allow private firms to be compensated through water service payments, user fees or in other forms. Local governments could use the power of eminent domain to secure the land necessary for the projects.

Georgia's Environmental Finance Authority would also be allowed to take the lead role in developing reservoirs.

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