Tuesday December 1st, 2015 4:56PM

Mecum: State money will cover some expense involved in Glades

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GAINESVILLE - Hall County Board of Commissioners Chairman Dick Mecum says money set aside by the state Wednesday for the Glades Reservoir will cover some of the expense involved in developing the impoundment.

The project is one of four in the state that will receive a portion of $45 million in funding from the Governor's Water Supply Program. How those funds will be distributed between the three projects has yet to be determined. (See separate story. Link below.)

''I would like to sincerely thank Gov. Nathan Deal, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority for their vision and foresight in aligning and mobilizing state resources to assist local governments with developing new water supply sources to adequately meet future water needs,'' Mecum said.

Hall County District 3 Commissioner Scott Gibbs also expressed his appreciation for the state's willingness to support the project.

''This award from the state will enhance and improve the Glades Reservoir Project while reducing the cost of the project to Hall County citizens and future water users,'' said Gibbs.

''The Governor's Water Supply Program funds will reimburse Hall County for their land acquisition expenditures to date and will be used to purchase buffer property, easements, and other necessary property components of the Glades project,'' said Mecum.

Hall County has spent more than $8 million on land acquisition for Glades so far. Those funds have primarily come from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) revenues.

Hall County has applied for state and federal permits for the proposed Glades Reservoir project to operate as part of a public water supply system to provide drinking water solely within Hall County.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing the application for a federal permit pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The Corps decided in July 2011 that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would need to be prepared to determine the effects of the proposed reservoir on the human and natural environment. The Corps began working on the EIS in February 2012, and they expect to finish it and make their permitting decision in mid-2014.

Hall County's Section 404 permit application to the Corps of Engineers specifies that the purpose of the proposed Glades Reservoir is to provide a reliable source of public water supply, capable of satisfying the projected unmet water demand in Hall County during drought conditions, for the projected population growth through the year 2060.

According to officials with the Governor's Water Supply Program, the state is now shifting state direct investment to focus on two strategic objectives: acquiring storage in strategically located reservoirs to augment flow in key river basins and developing pilot projects that address the state's most challghenging water supply issues, such as alternate water storage in the Flint River basin or coastal saltwater intrusion.

The Glades Reservoir Project is one of four water supply projects across the state to receive the award from the Governor's Water Supply Program during its second round of funding.
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