An appraisal of the consumptive withdrawal limit for the Upper Chattahoochee Basin
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In the Allocation Formula negotiations and in the Metro Atlanta Water Resources Plan reference is made to a 705 MGD average annual consumptive withdrawal limit for the Chattahoochee Basin above Peachtree Creek. Setting such a limit is a serious task because it defines the acceptable depletion level for municipalities and industries to plan their future growth. In this paper several questions relating to this consumptive withdrawal limit will be discussed including: 1) In what temporal context should such a demand limit be provided, 2) What is the relationship between a consumptive withdrawal limit for the Upper Chattahoochee basin and the water available in the basin or the “yield” of the basin, and 3) Accounting for regulated and unregulated reaches in yield calculations. Defining the limits of consumptive withdrawals should 1) be based on an analysis of the safe yield of the upper Chattahoochee Basin, 2) accommodate for seasonal variations in flow, withdrawals and returns and 3) should be based on conservative assumptions.