ACF Stakeholders meeting
Here are details related to the private
water group’s meeting this week
When: Today through Thursday
Where: Legacy Lodge & Conference Center, Lanier Islands
More info: Visit acfstakeholders.org.
Note: Sessions are closed to the public except for one set for 3-6 p.m. Wednesday
Jim McClatchey said he hopes a private water group can still produce its own water management plan for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin, which includes Lake Lanier.
“But I can’t guarantee there’ll be one,” said the ACF Stakeholders chairman. “It’s a dynamic situation and it’s probably not appropriate to really say much more at this point.”
And if you go looking for answers at the group’s meeting this week and you’re not a member of the group, expect closed doors.
The group has clamped down on information since Florida filed legal action against Georgia last October alleging overconsumption of water by its northern neighbor. The move prolonged what has been a decadeslong water war between the two states and Alabama.
This week’s sessions at Lanier Islands resort in South Hall County are, for the most part, no exception.
The group, comprising regional residents with a variety of interests throughout the basin, is set to meet today through Thursday, with only a 3-6 p.m. Wednesday session open to the public, according to the draft agenda on its website.
The agenda, however, is chocked full of information, including a list of meeting objectives and “desired outcomes.” It also shows discussion items during closed meetings, such as contents of the draft Sustainable Water Management Plan and “remaining issues.”
“We’re kind of in the middle of things now, and there’s a lot of discussions going on,” McClatchey said Monday.
In June, the group met in Alabama, and agreed to spend the money necessary to complete the water plan.
It directed its technical contractors — Black & Veatch, Atkins Global and the Georgia Water Resources Institute at Georgia Tech — to finish their work this summer with the goal of wrapping up the plan by late fall.
Crafting the plan has been the organization’s goal since its creation nearly five years ago.
“I am looking forward to unveiling this year a (plan) that balances the needs of all the interests and stakeholders that rely on the (basin),” McClatchey said in June. “Though much has been accomplished, there is still a lot of work that must be done. I am confident that we will get there.”
ACF officials have said the aim is for the water plan to be based on science, data and consensus among members from the states that make up the basin.
They also have said they hope to present their water-sharing recommendations to Georgia, Alabama and Florida and the Army Corps of Engineers, which governs Lake Lanier and is working on a water control manual update for the basin.
So far, the corps has not been involved in the group’s actions, said Pat Robbins, spokesman for the corps’ Mobile (Ala.) District.
“We look forward to their input into the process as we do input from all stakeholders,” he said.
The Gainesville-based Lake Lanier Association is “absolutely anxious to see the draft (water plan),” said Joanna Cloud, its executive director.
“Anything that gets us closer to a sustainable water management plan, developed by the actual stakeholders on the system, is a valuable piece of the overall puzzle for the basin.”