Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gwinnett Files Notice to Appeal in Water Wars Decision

Gwinnett County has filed a notice of appeal in response to the July 17, 2009, decision of Judge Paul Magnuson in the Jacksonville, Fla., District Court on the long-running “Water Wars” cases in which Gwinnett County is a party. Summarized, the judge ruled that if no congressional resolution is reached in three years, Gwinnett County must cease taking water for drinking and fire protection purposes from Lake Lanier.

Commission Chairman Charles Bannister said, “It is imperative that we protect our citizens from this draconian ruling that would jeopardize the public health, public safety and economic well-being of every Gwinnett County resident. We cannot simply stand by and hope others solve the severe water resources problem for us, but must take positive action to protect our citizens and our economy. Gwinnett continues to support the efforts of Gov. Perdue, the State of Georgia and the other water providers in the region to solve this problem with our neighbors to the west and south. We are optimistic that the three governors can reach agreement on this water use problem and that Congress will pass legislation to solve this matter once and for all.”

Gwinnett County, which has a withdrawal permit from the State of Georgia for 150 million gallons per day (monthly average), takes an average of 80 million gallons per day from Lake Lanier during a typical year. Early next year, the County will begin putting reclaimed water back into Lake Lanier.

“We have a permit from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to discharge 40 million gallons per day back to the lake,” said Lynn Smarr, Acting Director of Gwinnett’s Water Resources Department. “We have initiated dialog with the EPD that will allow us to use this permit to the maximum capacity, based upon flows at the Hill Plant, just as soon as the pipeline construction is complete.”
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