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Meetings speaker could address Laniers levels
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The “water wars” between Georgia, Alabama and Florida is likely to surface as a topic at the Lake Lanier Association’s annual membership meeting Thursday.


The keynote speaker, state Sen. Jack Murphy, R-Cumming, “is involved in that and we thought he would be a good candidate to talk about (its) status and what’s going on from a state government standpoint,” said Joanna Cloud, the advocacy organization’s executive director.


Murphy said he hopes to provide some updates on whether the state’s budget provides for a study of Lake Lanier’s water levels.


In 2007, he co-signed a resolution urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to increase the lake’s full pool level to 1,073 feet above sea level from 1,071 feet.


That’s been a longtime push by the Gainesville-based Lake Lanier Association as a way to increase the size of the reservoir.


“I’ve seen the lake at 1,075 feet and I can’t recall that there was any big problems with that,” Murphy said in a phone interview Sunday night. “There will be some (issues) with the docks ... and with the marinas.”


Lake Lanier as a main drinking water source for Gainesville and metro Atlanta governments has been a contentious issue for nearly 20 years between the three Southern neighbors.


“It makes perfect sense to raise the lake by 2 feet,” Murphy said. “It ... would give us much more water, and it would seem like Florida and Alabama would go along with that since they would have the opportunity to get water ... and it wouldn’t be sacrificing Lake Lanier.


“I can’t see what the big objection to that is, but government moves slowly.”


The annual meeting, which is open to the public, is set to start at 6 p.m. in the conference center at Lanier Technical College’s Forsyth County campus, 7745 Majors Road.


“We will give an update on our activities, a summary of the (past) year ... as well as upcoming plans for this year,” Cloud said.


Tim Rainey, the corps’ operations projects manager at Lake Lanier, also is set to speak at the event.


In addition, the Lake Lanier Association plans to hold informational workshops on landscaping with native plants, fishing techniques and boating safety.


“We wanted to have an additional draw, an incentive for our members to take time out of their day to come hear about our association,” Cloud said.


The free workshops are scheduled to run from 5 to 5:45 p.m.


Light appetizers and nonalcoholic drinks will be served at the event.