A private developer in northwest Georgia is shopping its reservoir project to communities. Local officials are greeting the proposal with caution.
Georgia Reservoir Company wants to dam Calhoun Creek to create a lake in Lumpkin and Dawson counties that can provide up to 47 million gallons of water a day.
The company hatched the idea after a federal ruling imperiled Forsyth county’s drinking water source Lake Lanier. Now that the ruling is overturned, the company is courting other communities.
Dahlonega mayor Gary McCullough says the city has enough water for the next 15 years, and the proposal has too many unknowns:
"You know... who’s going to own the water? And who’s going to do this and… They don’t have any money and we don’t have any money, so there’s too many unanswered questions. I don’t think there’s enough support from the council," says McCullough.
Governor Nathan Deal is backing new reservoirs with hundreds of millions of state dollars, and in May he signed a bill allowing public private partnerships to build them.
Conservationists worry private interests are driving projects, rather than public need.