Draft documents dictating future operations of the tri-state water basin including Lake Lanier account for 40 million gallons per day in water supply from the proposed Glades Reservoir in North Hall County.
The amount is part of gross withdrawals of 225 million gallons per day upstream of Buford Dam, which includes Lake Lanier, as proposed in Army Corps of Engineers documents released Wednesday.
And they address releases from Buford Dam to support downstream withdrawals.
A key water issue locally has been the proposed 850-acre Glades. Costs for the project have exceeded $15 million, with a final environmental impact statement due this fall and a permitting decision from the corps in December.
If approved, the total projected cost for the reservoir could run about $130 million.
As for the operating manual and an accompanying environmental impact statement, the corps would continue to operate the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin “as a system in a balanced manner to achieve all authorized project purposes,” corps spokesman E. Patrick Robbins said.
The agency is planning a series of public hearings in Georgia, Florida and Alabama, with the first one set for 4-7 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St. The last one is Nov. 9 in Eastpoint, Fla.
After the hearings, Robbins has said, “public input will be analyzed,” with final approval and implementation of the manual expected in March 2017.
The current manual for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin was completed in 1958, shortly after Lake Lanier was formed.
The revision is intended to “improve operations for authorized purposes to reflect changed conditions since the manuals were last developed,” states a corps website dedicated to the manual update.
The manual could be a dicey topic, especially as Georgia, Florida and Alabama have been locked in a two-decade “water war” over the sharing of water in the basin.
Georgia seemed to be getting an upper hand in the legal wrangling until last year when the U.S. Supreme Court accepted a lawsuit from Florida, which challenges Georgia’s “overconsumption” of water in the basin.
Florida alleges that such a trend has harmed the state economically, especially with the oyster industry in Apalachicola Bay. Georgia has denied Florida’s allegations.