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Area officials back new Glades Reservoir; water may be needed sooner
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Area leaders met Monday in Gillsville to hear a presentation and ask questions about the Glades Reservoir project slated for North Hall County.

The Joint Local Government Association meeting was the first opportunity since the July 17 ruling on Lake Lanier that area government officials were able to sit down together to consider future water supply issues. U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson ruled July 17 that nearly all Georgia’s withdrawals from Lake Lanier are illegal.

Harold Reheis, a consultant for the Glades Reservoir project, gave the Joint Local Government Association a presentation outlining the project and answered questions from local leaders.

Each municipal government was provided a draft letter to sign in support of the Glades Reservoir project.

There was no opposition from any of those present, though some leaders did have questions.

Gainesville Mayor Pro Tem Ruth Bruner said she would like to see the same support for the Cedar Creek Reservoir in East Hall, which the city soon may use.

"The city of Gainesville is very supportive of the Glades Reservoir," Bruner said. "But it’s not the only thing we need ... we’re ready to move forward with Cedar Creek."

The reservoir has yet to be used as a water source because there is no treatment plant to serve it and city and county officials are supposed to meet soon to discuss water supply issues.

Gillsville Mayor Larry Poole asked why the Glades Reservoir, which is slated to be much larger than the Cedar Creek Reservoir, would not provide as much water.

Reheis said because the reservoir is a public-private partnership with the Glades Farm landowners, aesthetics were taken into account. County officials have been working with the Glades Farm landowners since 1993 to form a public-private partnership to build the 850-acre reservoir to serve the county’s growing water needs.

Reheis said the Glades reservoir would yield 6.4 million gallons of water per day, compared with the 7.3 million that is expected from Cedar Creek, in order to keep the reservoir near full.

"Glades (property owners) said ‘Well, if you’re going to take the middle out of our property to build a reservoir there, we don’t want a reservoir that’s going to be pulled 30 or 40 feet into the ground like a single-purpose water supply reservoir typically is,’" Reheis said. "Cedar Creek Reservoir can be pulled down very deeply if there’s a drought. This one will be pulled down as deep as it needs to be to get you through the drought but hopefully not more than 10 feet. It’s just a different way of designing the reservoirs with different objectives."

The county has scheduled a public meeting for Aug. 6, one of the final steps before getting federal permission to build Glades Reservoir. The federal permit could come in 13 months.

"What (the judge’s ruling) means for Glades is we’re going to need it in Hall County sooner than we thought we would," Reheis said at a previous meeting. "Instead of needing Glades in 2040 to get us out to our 2060 needs in Hall County, we may need Glades in 10 years from now to get us to our 2030 needs."