Whether you own Lake Lanier Real Estate, enjoy boating on Lake Lanier, or just have an interest in keeping our Georgia Lakes healthy, here's an article published by the Lake Lanier Association:

Just a reminder, the public comments on the Governor's Water Supply Program (GWSP) are due by 5:00PM on Monday, 12/5/2011. The Lake Lanier Association asks all persons in support of the 1073 full pool concept to submit a public comment indicating their support.  

 

Comments may be entered on the GWSP website at http://www.georgiawatersupply.org/. Public comment guidance and submission information is also available on the GWSP website.

 

Below is a copy and paste of the text of the public comment submitted by the Lake Lanier Association. LLA members are welcome to create their own comments using this information, but please do not simply copy and paste this text into your response. We think personally crafted messages from our members will be more effective than a generic response.

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The Lake Lanier Association has been an advocate for Lake Lanier for over 45 years. Our thousands of members as well as thousands of volunteers have focused on keeping Lake Lanier clean and full. Our annual Shore Sweep program has removed an estimated 500 tons of debris from the lake over the 23 years of its existence. Our association has advocated successfully for cleaner discharges into Lake Lanier from waste water treatment plants that discharge into the lake.Our track record as an advocate for the lake is long and consistent.

 

With over 7.5 million annual visitors, the importance of Lake Lanier to the economic fabric of the entire State of Georgia is well documented as well as its contribution to the quality of life. The Governor's Water Supply Program is a unique opportunity for the State of Georgia to focus on how Lake Lanier can contribute an even greater value to the residents and businesses of the state.

 

We want to call attention to the Project Types authorized under the GSWP:

1) Project Type

The GWSP may provide financing for water supply projects, including:

* expanding existing water supply, amenity or flood control reservoirs for water supply;

* converting flood control or amenity reservoirs to water supply reservoirs;

* increasing safe yield of existing water supply reservoirs through the addition of pump storage capability;

* removing sediment from existing water supply reservoir to increase safe yield;

* establishing new water supply reservoirs;

* interconnecting water systems for supply and/or supply redundancy;

* drilling new wells, including for direct potable use or streamflow augmentation that protects or enhances water

supply;

* reopening inactive wells;

* desalination;

* developing aquifer storage and recovery capability; and

* indirect potable reuse systems.

The two highlighted Project Types are directly related to a low cost way for Lake Lanier to contribute to the purpose of the GSWP as stated:

  • PURPOSE OF THE GOVERNOR'S WATER SUPPLY PROGRAM

The purpose of the Governor's Water Supply Program (GWSP) is to align and mobilize the resources of the state of Georgia to assist local governments with developing new sources of water supply adequate to meet future water demands.

 

We would like to comment of two of the Project types:

 

  • expanding existing water supply, amenity or flood control reservoirs for water supply

 

Through a coordinated program with the Georgia Congressional Delegation and the Corps of Engineers the full pool level of Lake Lanier could be raised by 2 feet. This would result in an additional 26 billion gallons of water storage. Since this volume of water would be above the current conservation layer, 100% of the water could be used for authorized purposes, as well as further insuring Lake Lanier as a source of water during droughts. This will increase the volume of water above the Conservation Zone by 7% and exceeds the amount of water contemplated by the new reservoir projects.

 

The decision by the 11th Circuit Appeal Court to set aside Judge Magnuson's ruling and to direct the Corps of Engineers to include water supply as an authorized use of Lake Lanier provides a unique opportunity to address this important issue. While new reservoir construction is expensive and requires considerable time, increasing Lake Lanier by 2 feet is relative inexpensive and can occur much faster.

 

Gwinnett, Forsyth and Dawson Counties as well as the State of Georgia Legislature have passed resolutions supporting raising Lake Lanier by 2 feet. Copies of those resolutions are attached.

 

The second project we would like to comment on is:

 

  • removing sediment from existing water supply reservoir to increase safe yield

 

It is a natural occurrence that sediment builds up in lakes. Eventually sediment accumulates to the point of impacting the functions of the reservoir. Over the 50 year life of Lake Lanier, estimates vary as to the amount of sedimentation. Some estimate as high as 10% - 15%. If that were to be the case, then the total volume of water in Lake Lanier would have decreased by 61 - 92 billion gallons since the Corps of Engineers management of the reservoirs is based on action zones linked to total elevation of the lake.

 

Even though some of this sedimentation would have occurred below the Conservation Zone, nonetheless, much of it is above the Conservation Zone and therefore decreases the volume of water available for water supply and other authorized purposes.

 

Both of these Project Types have the impact of increasing the volume of water that is available for safe yield. The Lake Lanier Association recommends the formation of a special committee as part of the authorization of the GSWP to develop a project that will:

 

  1. Establish the cost parameters associated with raising the full pool of Lake Lanier by 2 feet.
  2. Establish the process steps necessary to move the project through the necessary Congressional and federal agencies.
  3. Conduct bathometric studies to better define the amount of sedimentation in Lake Lanier
  4. Establish the costs and benefits associated with removing sedimentation in the lake.
  5. Work with the Corps of Engineers to define Congressional authorization parameters associated with sediment removal.

 

Lake Lanier Association is anxious to work with the Georgia Water Supply Program to assist achieving the goals of ensuring Georgia's water supply future.