In response to the recent letter to the editor regarding our proposal to raise the level of Lake Lanier by 2 feet, I would like to give additional information on this proposal.
The Lake Lanier Association is very appreciative of our local community getting involved in the issues regarding Lake Lanier and we encourage our members to carry on a dialogue with us so we can be responsive to their concerns.
Conservation and responsible management of Lake Lanier are key elements of any solution to the North Georgia water supply problem and the Association advocates that position on behalf of our members.
But avoiding “an ugly muddy shoreline” is not our reason for seeking an additional 2 feet of water in the lake. One of the primary reasons we advocate a higher pool level is to help avoid drawing the lake down to a point at which safety hazards surface, which occurs at around 1,060 feet above sea level.
Around that level, previously submerged objects begin to protrude through the lake’s surface in increasingly larger numbers, exposing people who use the lake for fishing and water sports to physical dangers that the Corps did not adequately anticipate in designing the lake.
This factor contributes to dramatically lower usage of the lake below that water level, which has a impact on businesses and the area’s economy.
But there is another important reason for adding water to Lanier. By raising the lake 2 feet, Georgia can better store an additional 26 billion gallons of water than it can by creating multiple reservoirs throughout North Georgia. By way of comparison, the proposed Glades Reservoir would hold 11 billion gallons. Of the 26 billion gallons that we are proposing for Lake Lanier, 100 percent would be available for use, whereas in a new reservoir, only the portion of water above the reservoir’s “dead,” or inactive zone would be available for use.
The additional usable water in Lake Lanier would serve as a water storage insurance policy not only for our area, but for downstream interests in mid- and south Georgia as well as in Florida and Alabama. It is important to note that any additional usable water in new reservoirs would not contribute to a solution to the two-decade-old water wars, whereas a comprehensive solution that includes additional Lake Lanier storage could be the basis of a solution to our multistate feud.
While there would admittedly be some negative impact on some lake property owners, the overwhelming majority of the Association’s members are, according to our surveys, strongly supportive. We, of course, believe a comprehensive study should be done to assess potential impacts but we think the negative impacts pale in comparison to the significant benefits that would result from raising the lake.
The bottom line is that water supply is crucial to all of North Georgia, and Lake Lanier is the key to it. The Lake Lanier Association has worked for 45 years to protect and preserve Lake Lanier. We think “Clean Lake, Full Lake” says it all, and we hope all your readers will join us in our efforts ensure that the lake is still clean and full 45 years from now.
Executive Director, Lake Lanier Association, Gainesville