Study recommends enlarging reservoirs

7 11 2008

 

By Lee Shearer | the Athens Banner-Herald

State water planners should consider expanding existing reservoirs before building new ones to increase North Georgia water supplies, according to a study by the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority.

The study names 16 reservoirs that might be enlarged to hold more water, including two in the Athens area. Lake Chapman in Sandy Creek Park and the reservoir at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder could each be expanded, according to the study.

The study proposes building higher dams to raise the water level at Sandy Creek by 10 feet and the water level in the Fort Yargo State Park lake by 20 feet. The existing dams at both reservoirs are 50 feet high.

Raising the dams would increase the water storage capacity of Sandy Creek Reservoir by more than 2 billion gallons and the water in the Fort Yargo reservoir by nearly 3 billion gallons, according to the study.

A larger Fort Yargo lake could supply up to 17.2 million gallons of water a day and Sandy Creek up to 11.7 million gallons a day, according to the study.

The sites were chosen because the lakes already have a storage capacity of at least a billion gallons or a surface area of at least 100 acres and because a larger lake would not affect nearby businesses, government buildings or more than 20 homes.

The study did not attempt to assess environmental effects, such as how much would be left of a large wetland north of Lake Chapman, if the lake were expanded.

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