Officials with Etowah Water and Sewer Authority could be one step closer to building a reservoir designed to meet Dawson County’s future water needs.
The authority is negotiating with landowners this week to purchase the final piece of property needed for the project, according to Brooke Anderson, authority general manager.
In order to build the Russell Creek project, the authority will next need to obtain permitting from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well as other federal agencies.
Anderson hopes to have all permits in place within the calendar year so that construction on Russell Creek Reservoir could begin within five years.
Once constructed, the proposed reservoir could pump water from the Etowah River into Russell Creek during periods of heavy rain.
Anderson said authority officials determined the reservoir could meet the 17.5 million gallons per day that Dawson County is projected to need by 2050.
The authority currently pulls 5.5 million gallons per day from the Etowah River, which is the maximum amount allowed without a reservoir.
The Russell Creek Reservoir is separate from the Shoal Creek project — another EWSA-initiated reservoir — which is viewed as a regional solution to Georgia’s future water needs.
The Russell Creek project is designed to meet Dawson County’s water needs alone.
Reservoirs have taken on new significance in light of U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson’s ruling from July 2009, stating Atlanta illegally tapped Lake Lanier for drinking water.
He gave the region three years to ink a water-sharing deal with Alabama and Florida, which also depend on the Chattahoochee River.