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Etowah gets $10 million GEFA loan
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Etowah Water and Sewer Authority is $10 million closer to building the Russell Creek Reservoir, a 136-acre site expected to serve the water needs of Dawson County through 2050.

The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) announced last week it will award Etowah the loan to go toward the $34 million project.

The loan is a part of the Governors Water Supply Program (GWSP), which helps local governments finance water supply infrastructure.

We are extremely pleased with $10 million we have received through the Governors Water Supply Program, Authority General Manager Brooke Anderson said.

The loan terms are over a 40-year period with zero percent interest during the loan drawdown and 2.03 percent interest during the repayment period. The authority also does not have to pay any closing fees.

The terms we got the money at are tremendous, Anderson said. The terms were just the kind of terms that make the program so important, not just for Etowah, but for anyone trying to build a water supply project. These projects take a long time, and youve got to have flexible terms when youre trying to move a project like this forward.

The GWSP program was launched in 2011 by Gov. Nathan Deal. Deal directed GEFA to develop and launch GWSP and committed $300 million to the program over the course of four years. According to the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, the purpose of the program is to align and mobilize the resources of the state to assist local governments with developing new sources of water supply adequate to meet future water demand forecasts.

The Governors Water Supply Program helps local governments finance water supply infrastructure, GEFA Executive Director Kevin Clark said. In addition to the publics health and safety, adequate water supply is critical to the states economic growth and prosperity.

Anderson said the Etowah authority will look to apply for the loan again, as well as seek out other funding opportunities for the $34,787,720 project.

The Russell Creek Reservoir will be designed to yield 11.5 million gallons of water per day. Water to fill the reservoir will be pumped from the Etowah River.

Anderson said the authority is one issue away from receiving its 404 permit from the Corps of Engineers. A 404 permit is required whenever water the Corps has control over is affected. The one issue still needed is the cumulative impact model, Anderson said. Were hoping to have that wrapped up in mid-September, he said.

Once the Cumulative Impact Model report is completed, Anderson said he hopes to hear by the end of the year if the permit is approved. Were making very good progress on the project and its just coming together wonderfully, he said. Were very happy.