GAINESVILLE — Gainesville City Council members expressed their support for the state’s efforts to keep water in Lake Lanier.
Councilman George Wangemann proposed that the City Council draft a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, the federal entity that manages Lake Lanier, in support of the efforts of Gov. Sonny Perdue and Georgia EPD director Carol Couch’s efforts to curtail water released from the lake.
Wangemann said the corps’ decision to increase releases from Lanier was ridiculous considering the critical water situation the northern region of Georgia is facing.
"Lake Lanier’s level is getting dangerously low, and to save a few mussels down there (instead) of having our citizens and people up this way get much needed water is a little bit ridiculous I think," Wangemann said.
Councilman Danny Dunagan seconded Wangemann’s request. He said the corps released water from Buford Dam for nine hours on Monday, and the lake dropped almost half of a foot over the weekend.
"That corps, evidently I don’t like to talk about a branch of our government, but they’re just totally unresponsive," Dunagan said. "It’s uncalled for."
Dunagan said he understood the corps must release from the lake to keep the water clean."I just think they’re going totally overboard," Dunagan said.
The council reached a consensus that it would send a letter in support of state officials’ efforts to ask the corps to reduce the amount of water it releases from Buford Dam.
Friday, Couch sent the corps a letter asking it to reduce the amount of water it released to Florida because of the severity of the North Georgia region’s drought. Later that same day, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle of Hall County and Gov. Sonny Perdue both expressed their support for Couch’s efforts.
The corps responded with a press release stating that it would have to increase the amount of water released from Buford Dam in order to cool water at a power plant in Florida and make sure there was enough water to protect an endangered mussel species in Florida.
The state has given the corps an ultimatum to take action to conserve water in the lake by today or face litigation.