City-Owned Acreage Could Quench Atlanta’s Thirst (and Squelch the Water War)

Atlanta owns more than 10,000 forested acres along the Etowah River, and now a private developer wants to turn it into a huge reservoir with the help of the public water authority.

Is this a (water) pipe dream? Maybe not: This venture could provide 100 million gallons of water to the city per day in just four years. The price tag of the project (roughly $650 million) would be handled privately for the most part and Atlanta would benefit from some additional funds to help offset a ridiculously unbalanced budget.

This could actually be done by the time Atlanta loses claim to waters of Lake Lanier. Could this actually work to Lanier’s advantage by keeping water levels up, even in the face of our Alabama and Florida detractors? One would hope so.  

The challenges could consume the project – environmental, financial, regulatory, legislative, etc, etc. (how has so much red tape built up in these United States for a project that would benefit so many?). Of course, the city of Atlanta appears to be in no hurry, as with the Beltline Project, so this may not get done in time for our grand-children to enjoy.

I’m hopeful the rationale prevails but there is always the specter of special interests and the NIMBY crowd.

Atlanta has owned the property since 1971 – bought it for a second airport. While forward-thinking and commendable, that will never happen now that H-J is such an icon. The interesting thing is that there are no homeowners on the tract to haggle with. Seems like a no-brainer to me, Governor Perdue – the private sector will have to co-op with the public sector for these kind of infrastructure projects moving forward.