The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority announced last week that the Governor’s Water Supply Program plans to invest up to $44.9 million in four reservoir and water supply projects statewide, including the planned Richland Creek Reservoir in north Paulding.
Paulding County would negotiate with the environmental finance authority on how much of the funding it would receive, said finance authority spokesman Shane Hix.
County Engineering Department director Michael Carter said he and other planners will decide how much of the water capacity Paulding is willing to share with the state agency before knowing how much it will request.
“Several things are going to have to happen,” he said. “We can only accept the state buy-in of what we can live without.”
Paulding County government has been waiting for months for environmental approvals from the Army Corps of Engineers before proceeding with final designs on the estimated $86 million total project. Carter said the latest request from the Corps is an update of population projections used in the original 2010 request.
“We feel we’re very near [approval],” he said. “We are ready to go to final design and start moving dirt.”
Paulding already has $53 million for the project, he noted.
The county would use an intake on the Etowah River in Bartow County to pump water to supplement Richland Creek inflows to fill the reservoir. It is planned to yield 35 million gallons per day, provide 3.43 billion gallons of water storage, and cover 305 acres.
The reservoir, however, would only provide a portion of Paulding residents’ drinking water. County residents currently receive all of their drinking water from Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority, and it would provide remaining water supplies after Richland Creek goes into operation.
The money comes from proceeds of a state bond issue for water projects. Of the $44.9 million, a total of $5 million would be dedicated to a project to test deep aquifer production along the Georgia coast – leaving $39.9 million to Richland Creek, Carroll County Water Authority’s proposed Indian Creek Reservoir; and Hall County’s proposed Glades Reservoir.
Cobb County-Marietta gets its raw water from Lake Allatoona. Richland Creek Reservoir would free up future demand on Allatoona and extend its water supply life, according to a finance authority release.
Funding authority executive director Kevin Clark said in a statement the state’s direct investment through the Governor’s Water Supply Program “presents a unique opportunity to capitalize on projects that address water challenges of broader significance to the state or a region of the state.”
“These four projects are the best, most strategic investments the state can make at this time to secure water supply in the right places and to tackle some of Georgia’s most significant water supply challenges,” he said.