Sustainable Water Management Plan for Lake Lanier
The Sustainable Water Management Plan for Lake Lanier isn’t exactly “new” news, but it is back in the news as the Water Wars continue in the U.S. Supreme Court
A group called “The ACF Stakeholders” (ACFS) released a Sustainable Water Management Plan (SWMP) back in May of 2015. That proposal was backed by its 56-member governing board, consisting of representatives from Georgia, Florida and Alabama.
The Lake Lanier Association (LLA) was a founding member of ACFS. According to LLA Executive Director Joanna Cloud, “This week’s hearing by the US Supreme Court highlights the importance of an agreed upon plan to manage the waters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin.”
LLA “continues to support the SWMP as an option that the three states should consider for future management of waters of the ACF Basin.”
Joanna recapped one facet of SWMP:
A recommendation of the SWMP is to increase the full pool of Lake Lanier from 1071 to 1073 feet above mean sea level. The additional 2 feet of water storage adds 26 billion gallons of water to the useable water for all water needs of the entire ACF Basin, increasing the total available water in the basin by 7%.
This is a relatively minor cost that has major benefits from Lake Lanier to Apalachicola, FL. Regardless of the water need, whether environmental, water supply, recreation, navigation, business, or agriculture, everyone benefits from more stored water to use in times of drought. Lake Lanier has a very small watershed to refill after a drought, so more stored water is a substantial benefit for everyone.
Metro Atlanta’s 4 million residents depend on water from Lake Lanier. The Lake Lanier Association urges its members and government officials to support raising Lake Lanier full pool by 2 feet to achieve these benefits. They support the funding of an Environmental Impact Study by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to determine the impact and costs of adopting the full pool level 1073′ as the new full pool designation.