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Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 11:20am

Macon Courts Industry With Water

Economic development officials in Macon are touting the city’s water supply in an effort to lure businesses.

Bibb County hasn’t been plagued by the kind of shortages Atlanta has experienced with Lake Lanier in recent years, and Macon Water Authority executive director Tony Rojas imagines that could be a selling point for industries in need of reliable water.

“Maybe it’s your bottled water [companies]," Rojas said. "Others, they’re not so obvious. For instance these large server farms, they use a lot of water and it’s involved in cooling the equipment.”

Macon invested in building a reservoir–Javors Lucas Lake–at a time in the early 1990s when not a lot of other water authorities were undertaking similar projects. As a result, the water authority has had sufficient supply to earn exemptions from statewide restrictions that barred thousands of Atlanta residents from watering their lawns during recent droughts.

Cory Smith, CEO of the newly-formed Macon Beer Company says the city’s reservoir, fed by the Ocmulgee River, also offers consistent quality.

“Some places have to do chemical treatment of the water before they can use it in brewing, which means a cost for chemicals," Smith said. "We get to avoid all that wait time and extra cost and just go straight from Macon Water Authority into our brewing equipment.”

The water authority has partnered with the Macon Economic Development Commission in hiring former Macon Mayor George Israel to spread that message for the next 18 months.

Following Israel’s time as mayor, he lead the Georgia Chamber of Commerce from 2001 to 2010.

Rojas says Israel's rolodex will come in handy.

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