Hall County residents live in the water basin with the “greatest threat,” Gov. Nathan Deal said Tuesday night as he emphasized the importance of reservoirs and water storage.
Deal, speaking at the Hall County Soil and Water Conservation District’s 30th annual affiliate member banquet, said the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin is facing a threat in the tri-state battle over water.
“As you know, water is an important issue for our state,” Deal said. “We are continuing to work to try and solve the so-called water war.”
Alabama, Georgia and Florida have been in a legal battle over the use of Lake Lanier as a water source for Atlanta.
Alabama, Florida and communities in South Georgia have argued that Atlanta uses too much water, harming wildlife, people and industries downstream.
Deal said Tuesday that Georgia will have to supply some water to its neighbors, which means reservoirs, such as the proposed Glades Reservoir, are very important.
“We have to have more capacity to capture and hold water for when the bad times and droughts come,” Deal said. “We have to grow the system.”
Deal said the geography of Hall’s proposed Glades Reservoir, which would dam up a portion of Flat Creek, a tributary of the Chattahoochee River, to store enough water to provide the county with about 70 million gallons of water a day, is ideal for water storage.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently evaluating the environmental and social impacts of building that proposed reservoir.
Deal also applauded the conservation group and other similar organizations for their work in preserving water.
Deal said researchers in Georgia have worked out an irrigation system that would cut water use by 20 percent without harming crops.
Also at the event, Deal lauded the state’s recent business success.
“We have a lot of things going on a positive note for Georgia,” Deal said, citing that more than $28 billion has been invested in new capital since he’s been governor. “We’re going in the right direction.”
Deal said the recent relocation of a Caterpillar plant and Baxter International Inc. will only help the state more.
Those companies are expected to bring more than 3,000 combined jobs.
The $200-million Caterpillar plant near Athens will use the port in Savannah as it exports more than 40 percent of its products.
“They are moving fast and will be in production soon,” Deal said of the plant. Deal added he recently took a trip to Japan to try and talk suppliers for Caterpillar into relocating to Georgia. That would bring twice as many jobs, he said.
Baxter International Inc. is investing $1 billion in a manufacturing facility for biological medical treatments near Covington. That facility has helped make Georgia look better to the pharmaceutical industry, Deal said.