Georgia and the Army Corps of Engineers have agreed to a $71 million water contract for permanent water storage at Lake Lanier.
The move ties up a loose end from 2012, when the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that water supply was an original, authorized purpose of Lanier.
“This achievement is the culmination of years of hard work on the part of governors Kemp and Deal, and our federal delegation … negotiating with members of multiple federal administrations,” Kemp’s press secretary, Mallory Blount, told The Times in an email Friday, Jan. 22. “The agreement will mean greater certainty of water supply for much of Georgia.”
Water storage talks between Georgia and the Corps began in 2017, after the Corps approved Georgia’s request to reallocate the storage space among Lanier’s water suppliers. The overall storage space is projected to meet projected municipal and industrial water supply through 2050, Richard Dunn, Environmental Protection Division director, has said.
The two sides signed a 10-page agreement effective Wednesday, Jan. 20, that requires payments over 30 years from the state to the Corps.
Water providers around the lake, including Gainesville Department of Water Services, will share in the costs based on pro rata usage, said Linda MacGregor, director of the Gainesville utility.
Those dollar amounts, along with allocations, will be reflected in subcontracts between Georgia and the utilities. The subcontracts have yet to be issued.
“We think (that will happen) soon, but everything takes time,” MacGregor said.