State to Invest Up to $44.9 Million in Four Strategic Water Supply Projects

November 6, 2013

ATLANTA – The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) announced today that the Governor’s Water Supply Program (GWSP) plans to invest up to $44.9 million in four strategically-located reservoir and water supply projects.

Project Investment Details:

The GWSP plans to invest in the expansion of the Indian Creek Reservoir by the Carroll County Water Authority; the construction of the Glades Reservoir by Hall County; the construction of the Richland Creek Reservoir by Paulding County; and a project to test deep aquifer production for the abatement of saltwater intrusion along the Georgia coast.

The Georgia Department of Community Affairs board of directors voted today to amend a 2012 resolution authorizing GEFA to manage $54.5 million in bond proceeds for state direct investment. The amendment extends GEFA’s authorization to serve as DCA’s agent for the 2013 water supply program projects. Of the $54.5 million, $9.56 million was previously allocated to two projects in August 2012.

Quote:

“State direct investment through the Governor’s Water Supply Program presents a unique opportunity to capitalize on projects that address water challenges of broader significance to the state or a region of the state,” said GEFA Executive Director Kevin Clark. “These four projects are the best, most strategic investments the state can make at this time to secure water supply in the right places and to tackle some of Georgia’s most significant water supply challenges.”

Additional Information:

Carroll County Water Authority – Indian Creek Reservoir

The Indian Creek Reservoir is a 643-acre planned drinking water supply reservoir, which involves expanding the storage of an existing flood control dam on Indian Creek in the Tallapoosa River Basin. The reservoir will be filled initially with water pumped from Indian Creek and, in the future, with water from the Little Tallapoosa River. The reservoir could yield up to 18 million gallons per day when complete and will provide nine billion gallons of water storage in the Tallapoosa River Basin.

The addition of this project adds water storage capacity in the Tallapoosa River Basin that helps meet local water supply needs out to 2060, and allows the state greater flexibility to manage flows in the basin during dry periods that would otherwise not be possible. 

The combination of the potential strategic benefit of the project and the strong financial health of the applicant resulted in GEFA’s recommendation to begin negotiations with Carroll County Water Authority to acquire an ownership and operational interest in the Indian Creek Reservoir project.

Hall County – Glades Reservoir

The Glades Reservoir is an 850-acre planned drinking water supply reservoir, which is proposed as a pumped-storage reservoir located on Flat Creek in northern Hall County that would use an intake on the Chattahoochee River upstream of Lake Lanier to supplement inflows from Flat Creek in filling the reservoir. The Glades Reservoir will provide 11.7 billion gallons of water storage in the Chattahoochee River Basin.

The supplemental storage that the Glades project can provide can be achieved in a fashion that would not compromise the inflows that are relied upon to keep Lake Lanier as near normal pool as is possible. The sustainable yield that the additional storage a proposed Glades Reservoir could offer would be particularly useful during droughts in preserving Lake Lanier storage. Preserving or extending the water supply life of Lake Lanier would be beneficial to multiple water users beyond Hall County.

The combination of the potential strategic benefit of the project and the strong financial health of the applicant resulted in GEFA’s recommendation to begin negotiations with Hall County to acquire an ownership and operational interest in the Glades Reservoir project.

Paulding County – Richland Creek Reservoir

The Richland Creek Reservoir is a 305-acre planned drinking water supply reservoir, which is proposed as a pumped-storage reservoir located on Richland Creek in northern Paulding County that would use an intake on the Etowah River to supplement inflows from Richland Creek in filling the reservoir. The reservoir is being designed with a projected yield of 35 million gallons per day and will provide 3.43 billion gallons of water storage in the Coosa River Basin.

The Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority currently provides Paulding County with a portion of its drinking water, and the source of that water is Lake Allatoona. The Richland Creek Reservoir would free up future demand on Lake Allatoona thereby extending the water supply life of Lake Allatoona for the region’s water users. The off-loading of this demand will provide more dry weather opportunities for Lake Allatoona to meet a host of water demands both at and below Allatoona, including augmenting flows in the basin to help meet in-stream flow needs.

The combination of the potential strategic benefit of the project and the strong financial health of the applicant resulted in GEFA’s recommendation to begin negotiations with Paulding County to acquire an ownership and operational interest in the Richland Creek Reservoir project.

Testing of Deep Aquifer Production Well for the Abatement of Saltwater Intrusion

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has been studying the sustainability of the Floridan aquifer along Georgia’s coast, and implementing management strategies aimed at allowing only reasonable and sustainable use of this source, while being mindful of the encroaching saltwater interface in the aquifer.

One promising alternative to the Floridan aquifer is the increased use of surface water. It is realistic to expect even greater use of surface water in areas where the sustainability of the Floridan aquifer is most threatened. However, the use of distant surface water sources is impractical and uneconomical when attempting to meet the water needs of public water systems that are remotely located like some of Georgia’s coastal islands.

It is in the state’s interest to develop options that will allow remote water systems to participate in regional management strategies aimed at further reductions in reliance on the Floridan aquifer, but it must be shown that their participation can be achieved at reasonable financial and environmental costs.

An alternative source that remote water systems have access to is the deeper Cretaceous aquifer, but to date there has been no incentive for them to explore this option. The Cretaceous aquifer in Georgia’s upper coastal region is located several thousand feet below ground, well below the Floridan aquifer, and consists of water with elevated temperatures and high-salt content.

The aquifer is capable of yielding large quantities of water and is disconnected from the factors that influence saltwater intrusion concerns in the Floridan aquifer. The increased production of membrane technologies now renders the water of the Cretaceous aquifer less costly to treat to acceptable human consumption water quality standards.