Long-Range Water Supply Planning for Cobb County, Georgia
Karr, Philip R.
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Since 1980, the Atlanta metropolitan area has encountered several of the driest summers on record. These frequently recurring summer drought conditions have resulted in mandatory water use restrictions and have focused the public's attention on the region's water supply as a potential issue of concern for the future. Although fall and winter rains have generally made up for the summer droughts, the recent short-term deficits in water supply availability have highlighted the fact that the region's water resources are limited and that effective management of these limited resources is essential if water supply availability is not to be a limiting factor in Atlanta's future growth. The Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority (Authority) was created as a public utility in 1951 to furnish finished water on a wholesale basis to the municipal water systems of Marietta, Smyrna, Kennesaw, and Acworth, the Cobb County Water System, and Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. The Authority increased production from approximately 6.5 million gallons per day (mgd) in 1956 to an average of 70 mgd in 1987, making it the third largest water supplier in the metropolitan Atlanta area. Since its creation, the Authority's customer base has increased from the initial six customers all located in Cobb County, to 14 customers, including six in neighboring counties. As one of the major purveyors of finished drinking water in the Atlanta metropolitan area, the Authority has been, and, will continue to be, involved in the implementation of regional water supply projects that benefit the Atlanta metropolitan area as a whole. To date, these projects have focused on the Lake Lanier/Chattahoochee River system as the primary source of water supply for the region. However, even with a proposed reallocation of storage in Lake Lanier, it is now generally recognized that this source will not be able to satisfy the projected water supply needs of the Atlanta area much beyond the year 2010. In response to this limitation, the Authority developed a conceptual work plan for a study to look beyond this planning horizon to the year 2040. The study investigated other surface water supply sources as well as more innovative options, such as groundwater, wastewater reuse, and water conservation, that could satisfy water demands in the Authority service area for the long-range future. In November 1987, the Authority retained Brown and Caldwell, Consulting Engineers to conduct the long-range water supply master plan study.