Originally created 01/26/00

Asks industry aid on lock, dam issue



The cities of Augusta and North Augusta should consider other ramifications of a permanently "lower" water level in the Savannah River. Would we still host river races? Events like the races bring revenue into the city. What about private boat docking at Augusta? What else in the cities' "lifestyles" might change?

If the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can allocate 60 percent of the lock and dam repair costs, that leaves only 40 percent to be financed, plus yearly maintenance fees. Let's do the math. If we lose the dam, we also permanently lose water level and with it landscape, docking, river activities, etc. If we keep the dam, we have an asset.

The Chronicle mentions at least five major industrial stakeholders that would have to spend from $3 million to $10 million apiece to make plant modifications in order to cope with lower water levels. What if those five stakeholders and the cities of Augusta and North Augusta all shared the remaining 40 percent repair fees and yearly maintenance costs? It would take each major industrial stakeholder 69 years to have spent as much as plant modifications would cost.

Thinking toward the future, if industry could find a way to finance their own modifications, they should invest that money now and future returns on investment (i.e., interest) would pay the annual maintenance cost! In essence, they would never have to spend as much sharing repair and maintenance costs as they would have to for plant modifications, which themselves would have associated long-term maintenance costs as well!

Patricia Alley Carlisle, Aiken