The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is hosting meetings in Gainesville, Alabama and Florida this week to hear public comment on the Glades Reservoir, which is proposed for an area of northeast Hall and would be part of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basin. The Times and gainesvilletimes.com will have complete coverage of each meeting and an in-depth story Sunday on the issue. We'll also provide live tweeting during each meeting, so follow @gtimespolitics on Twitter.
A more ambitious plan for Glades Reservoir is getting its first public airing this week.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be at Gainesville State College this afternoon, providing information about Hall County's plans to build the reservoir upstream of Lake Lanier.
Today's hearing will also be residents' first chance tell the corps how they feel about the county's plan to build Glades Reservoir.
Glades, under the county's proposal, could provide 80 million gallons of water to the region each day.
Others throughout the larger Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basin will get a chance to comment on the project in meetings in Auburn, Ala., and Eastpoint, Fla., on Wednesday and Thursday.
This week's scoping hearings are the first in a string of public comment periods for a plan to build Glades Reservoir on Flat Creek, a tributary of the Chattahoochee River upstream of Lake Lanier.
Today's hearing is set up for residents to drop in at their convenience between 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Academic IV building at Gainesville State in Oakwood.
This won't be the only chance to comment.
After the current public comment period ends on April 17, the corps will complete a draft environmental impact statement, allowing for more public comment before a final version is complete.
The statement would outline the social, economic and environmental consequences of building the reservoir.
The engineering firm AECOM is preparing the statement at the county's expense under the corps' supervision.
The county's proposal for Glades is getting the extra scrutiny of an environmental impact statement due to its proximity to Lake Lanier.
Lake Lanier is the largest reservoir in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basin. Its water is used to supply some 3 million people in metro Atlanta with water.
For two decades, Alabama, Florida and Georgia have fought over control of the water flowing out of Lanier's Buford Dam through Atlanta and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico.
Georgia has been awarded the most recent victory in its fight with Florida and Alabama over rights to the basin; last summer the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a decision that water supply was not a federally authorized use of Lake Lanier.
Alabama and Florida have appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Just upstream of Lanier, Hall County officials have submitted plans to dam up Flat Creek, creating an 850-acre reservoir that would hold water pumped directly from the embattled Chattahoochee.
Part of the county's plans include pumping water from the Chattahoochee to store in Cedar Creek Reservoir in the Oconee River basin, and returning water from Glades to the Chattahoochee in times of low river flow.
By its own estimates, the county's new reservoir would adversely affect 39.2 acres of wetlands and 95,000 linear feet of streams.
But the county's plan also says Glades will provide for the county's water needs through the year 2060.
By then, the county would need another 72.5 million gallons of water per day, according to documents the county submitted to the corps.
That assumption, however, is based on the assumption that Gainesville will only have access to 18 million gallons of Lake Lanier's water. If Gainesville's access to Lanier holds, by 2060, the county would need an additional 46.5 million gallons each day.