Shifting Savannah River water to Atlanta area costly, report says

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009 12:59 PM
Last updated 5:31 PM
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Transferring water from the Savannah River basin to metro Atlanta is feasible, but would be more expensive than other options, according to a report prepared for Gov. Sonny Perdue’s Water Contingency Task Force.

Consultants suggested metro Atlanta could supplement its water supply through interbasin transfers from Lake Hartwell on the Savannah River and from Lake Burton, which also lies within the Savannah River basin.

Similar transfers were proposed from the Tennessee River and West Point Lake.

Bert Brantley, Gov. Perdue’s spokesman, said the committee’s evaluation of such potentially controversial actions should not be taken as any sort of plan.

“What this presentation did, was to offer a technical analysis of every idea that they could come up with,” he said. “The governor was very clear going into this: let’s don’t take any idea off the table until we get it plotted and see what the costs and benefits would be.”

The report, presented Nov. 23 to the 80-member committee at the Governor’s Mansion, said 100 million gallons per day could be pumped from Hartwell into Lake Lanier, where a raw water plant could process it for use by Gwinnett County residents.

The study showed the longterm cost per million gallons would be about $680, with similar transfers from Lake Burton costing about $415 per million gallons. Pumping from the Tennessee River and West Point were even more expensive, with costs per million gallons estimated at $890 and $1,110, respectively.

“A lot of the transfers aren’t very cost effective because of all the infrastructure that would be needed – piping, pump stations, that sort of thing,” Mr. Brantley said. “They don’t rate nearly as well as other ideas.”

Consultants also suggested the expansion of existing reservoirs and construction of new lakes closer to Atlanta, as well as more groundwater wells. Most of those options yielded lower costs.

“One of the interesting things this presentation showed is that, while people thought interbasin transfers would be more cost effective, they really don’t measure up as well as some of the other ideas,” Mr. Brantley said.

One of the main strategies that will be a part of any plan is conservation, he added. “The cheapest gallon is the gallon you save,” he said, “but that only gets yo so far.”

The scramble to identify water options was accelerated last summer, when U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson concluded Atlanta’s withdrawals from Lake Lanier to accommodate almost 4 million residents were illegal because the lake was built for hydropower—not drinking water.

The ruling was a victory for Alabama and Florida, which have argued for decades that Georgia is taking more than its share of water from the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin. Georgia was ordered to stop taking Lanier’s water within three years unless Congress authorizes continued use.

The task force, appointed in October, was charged with identifying the best solutions to avoid water shortages.

Mr. Brantley said the recent presentation was an inaugural look at potential options.

“The only analysis here is cost benefit,” he said. “There was no consideration given to environmental concerns or political reasons. It was literally meant to get all ideas on the table, both good and bad.”

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paulwheeler
122
Points
paulwheeler 12/01/09 - 02:54 pm
0
0
The greatest expense would be

The greatest expense would be generated by all of the lawsuits that will be filed if this ignorance is atually attempted.

Go kiss the feds butts Sonny, and maybe they'll let you keep drawing out of Lanier

Dixieman
12824
Points
Dixieman 12/01/09 - 03:10 pm
0
0
They ain't gettin' MY

They ain't gettin' MY water...

grinder48
1748
Points
grinder48 12/01/09 - 03:21 pm
0
0
Leave our water alone!
Unpublished

Leave our water alone! Somehow it doesn't seem right to divert water from it's natural course to provide water to an area already overpopulated, thus encouraging more growth and a need to steal even more resources in the future. Let supply and demand drive the population growth. Atlanta has a finite amount of water available. When price per gallon gets high enough, growth will slow. By the way, been to Atlanta lately? Wonder how much water is used by illegal aliens?

CarlA
114
Points
CarlA 12/01/09 - 03:21 pm
0
0
The state of GA will go

The state of GA will go bankrupt with all the lawsuits if this happens.

minime
0
Points
minime 12/01/09 - 03:27 pm
0
0
That is NOT what s/be looked

That is NOT what s/be looked into in the first place. Atlanta needs to solve it's own problem (they created it). They could start by "catching" some of that rain being forecast starting tonight...oh, sorry, they can't think that fast nor far ahead. However, if they re-directed the Tennessee River thru Atlanta maybe some of THAT water could go on to AL & FL & they could tax shipping traffic to get $ to buy land to store water for a future ransom.....just some random thoughts.

RowdyYates
0
Points
RowdyYates 12/01/09 - 04:17 pm
0
0
*News Flash* Water is

*News Flash* Water is ALREADY being diverted from the Savannah River basin into Lake Lanier, and has been for years.

Here's how it works. Habersham County purchases water from Stephens County (which draws its water from Lake Hartwell). Habersham's waste water discharge ends up in .......... Anyone? Anyone? That's right, Lake Lanier.

fscory
0
Points
fscory 12/01/09 - 05:12 pm
0
0
Atlanta ought to correct

Atlanta ought to correct their own infrastructure problems, considering their water department records 14% water loss to leaks.. Fix that first,,, then we'll talk

double_standard
166
Points
double_standard 12/01/09 - 09:21 pm
0
0
Once again Sonny fails. You

Once again Sonny fails. You people complain so much about the current administration it's these clownson the local and state level that are robbing you blind.

MyChronicleUserAccount
0
Points
MyChronicleUserAccount 12/01/09 - 09:32 pm
0
0
Thank goodness we have SC to

Thank goodness we have SC to sue Atlanta!

seenitB4
81048
Points
seenitB4 12/02/09 - 07:25 am
0
0
Maybe the next Gov. will have

Maybe the next Gov. will have enough foresight to catch some of this excess water we are getting now,,,,hope so..

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