Mar 31 2011
George legislators are continuing to look at the idea of drawing more water from the Tennessee River on the state’s northern edge. On March 31, the George House unanimously passed a measure moving the state toward doing just that.
The House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment in March proposed new language for House Resolution 424, suggesting a look at feasibility of withdrawing more water from that sources.
Urging the performance of a feasibility study of the withdrawal, storage, and distribution of waters from a certain portion of the basin of the Tennessee River; and for other purposes.
WHEREAS, the need to develop alternative sources of water supply and storage for much of Georgia is an issue of considerable urgency, particularly in light of a decision by the United States District Court entered in 2009 which found that communities in Georgia now dependent on the waters of Lake Lanier for water supply may no longer depend on that supply after 2012, absent a settlement among the States of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida; and
WHEREAS, Lookout Creek in Dade County, Chattanooga Creek in Walker County, and West Chickamauga and South Chickamauga Creeks in Catoosa County have, by some estimates based on the last ten years of available data from the United States Geological Survey and other sources, combined average flows of at least 725 million gallons per day, all of which flow northward into the Tennessee River; and
WHEREAS, there also exist abandoned rock quarries in north Georgia that can and do fill with very large volumes of water, including one in Walker County that is reported to have a water storage capacity of at least 3 billion gallons (9,207 acre-feet) of water; and
WHEREAS, the right of way of a railroad, owned by the State of Georgia, passes through the property on which the Walker County quarry described above is located and runs southward to the vicinity of Rome; and
WHEREAS, it may be possible to withdraw water from such north-flowing tributaries which might otherwise go unused in this state, pump the water into such an abandoned quarry for storage, and distribute water from such storage by means of a pipeline to be laid on the railroad right of way and thence to areas of this state in need of additional water supplies;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES that the members of this body urge the Department of Natural Resources, the Water Supply Division of the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, and private enterprises to study the feasibility of surface water withdrawal, storage, and distribution as described in this resolution.