The Hall County Board of Commissioners met Thursday with Glade Woodland Farm representatives to ask questions about the planned reservoir in northeastern Hall.
John Vardeman, a spokesman for the property owners, gave the commission a short presentation as part of a campaign to keep area leaders up to date on the project, which is projected to begin in 2011.
Vardeman said that without the reservoir, Hall County will be unable to meet the water demands of its projected population as early as 2030.
"The Glade reservoir is needed with normal, projected growth. It will not drive growth," Vardeman said. "First and foremost, the Glade reservoir allows us to control our own destiny."
Glade Farm is the collective name of the largest contiguous tract of undeveloped land in Hall County, along the Ga. 365 corridor near Lula. The land, owned by the Goess-Saurau and Mayr-Melnhof families of Austria, is being used as a timber farm.
A reservoir is planned on 850 of the property’s 7,000 acres. The proposed lake would supplement drinking water for Gainesville and Hall County.
The land is also scheduled to include two massive developments, Cane Creek and Hagen Creek.
Harold Reheis, former director of the state Environmental Protection Division and a consultant for the project, also answered questions about the reservoir.
Among the commissioners’ concerns was how long the reservoir would be able to sustain Hall County’s water needs during a drought.
"Droughts are like floods. There’s always a worse one out there," Reheis said, pointing out that there would need to be a water reserve maintained in the reservoir. "I think this would get you through a 4«-year drought."
That projection was based on of the average 138 gallons per capita used daily by Hall County residents and industries.
The state Environmental Protection Division determined that 6.4 million gallons per day could be withdrawn safely from the future reservoir.
Hall County’s growth was also a concern.
"I think it’s safe to say that Hall County very soon is going to be a county of 200,000 people, and one of these days is going to be 400,000," Reheis said.
Reheis said though the reservoir is a public-private partnership between Hall County and Glade Farm, the city of Gainesville will need to become involved after construction is complete.
Water from the reservoir is expected to flow into Lake Lanier. Thus, Gainesville will need to apply for a permit to up its intake of water from Lanier from 30 million gallons a day to 36.4 million to make up for the added water from the reservoir.
"Lake Lanier would be minimally impacted," Vardeman said. "We’re taking out only what we put in."
Reheis said he expects the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue a joint public notice on the reservoir.
"That notice will probably give everybody a 60-day commenting period. They will invite comments from anybody in the public and from the federal and state agencies that are interested," Reheis said.
Reheis suggested the county hold a public meeting this summer to answer local questions.