Using existing natural resources conservation service flood control structures for potential water supply in Georgia
Fulmer, William R.
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The Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission (GSWCC) is charged with coordinating the operation and maintenance of 357 USDA/Soil and Water Conservation District sponsored watershed dams in Georgia. A majority of these dams were built during a program that began in 1957 that encouraged the construction of watershed dams designed to serve as sediment traps and to provide flood protection for agricultural lands in what was once considered to be rural Georgia. Most of these watershed dams are maintained and operated by soil and water conservation districts. In a few cases, cities or counties have the responsibility to operate and maintain the structures. GSWCC, in coordination with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), completed a study by a private engineering firm to assemble data that established viability for municipal and industrial (M&I) water supply for an abbreviated list of 166 of the 357 watershed structures. This data included a preliminary analysis of yield potential of the watershed structures and associated stream, and dam proximity to existing surface water intake. Environmental issues included trout water, threatened and endangered species, wetlands impacted, streams impacted, and potential impacts to cultural resources. Ultimately 20 dams were selected for detailed water supply assessments. Each assessment included a detailed analysis of yield potential for the structures to include use as pump storage facility, an estimate of current and future water demand based on population projections, and the identity and quantity of environmental issues. Detailed cost estimates addressed construction costs, costs associated with the mitigation of environmental impacts and costs for land rights required to secure ownership of these dams.