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“We bought something and we can’t pay for it”

August 25, 2011

Those were the words of Canton City Councilman Bill Bryant, as quoted in Jeffry Scott’s recent AJC article.  He was not talking about Social Security, Medicare, or the Pentagon’s latest weapon system.  Bryant was talking about the ten-year old, incomplete, six billion gallon, and $100 million Hickory Log Creek Reservoir.  Canton’s leadership is desperately trying to extract themselves from a reservoir deal-gone bad – a reservoir project that was originally only supposed to cost $20 million.  The city owns a twenty-five percent stake in the water supply reservoir; the Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority owns the balance.  How bad is it?  Canton’s obligation (about $28 million) represents about fifty percent of city’s total debt.  Or, put another way, it is “a financial disaster” according to another council member.

In a political environment dominated by purported fiscal conservatives looking to cut budgets, rein in spending, and pass balanced budget amendments, why would any Georgia community seek to build a new water supply reservoir today?  The unfinished Hard Labor Creek project is already facing financial difficulties, and the planned Glades Farm Reservoir is looking at new financial hurdles.

Dollar for dollar, gallon for gallon, cheaper water supply alternatives exist for the fiscal conservative looking for economic certainty.  There are options that do not put rate payers and tax payers on the hook for bond obligations communities cannot meet in the softest of real estate markets.  Want some numbers on the financial folly of dams and the common sense cost-per gallon alternatives?  Read Joe Cook’s (Coosa River Basin Initiative) recent Cherokee Tribune op-ed: “Dams to Nowhere.”

-Chris Manganiello

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. DrinkMoreWater permalink
    August 25, 2011 8:24 pm

    From the AJC article: “They hope to strike a deal whereby the authority would take over the city’s reservoir debt and operate the city water and sewer system….In exchange, Canton would get access to 6 million gallons of water daily from the reservoir to meet future demand.”
    So it seems Canton still loves the reservoir, and the water it gives, but is just trying to cut a better deal. So this really isn’t a story about reservoirs being a bad idea.

    As to Joe Cook’s “Yet, rather than placing a priority on stopping leaks and making more efficient use of our water, it appears our state will instead…”
    This may appear to Joe this way but this not true. The Water Stewardship Act requires Georgia utilities to beginning accounting for water losses, using the same national standard, and implement programs to begin minimizing losses. Very few states are doing this so Georgia is ahead of the curve – check out
    http://www.intellih2o.com/downloads/Water_Audits_Coming.pdf

  2. Unneeded reservoirs permalink
    August 30, 2011 5:40 pm

    Was this another Tommy Craig project–like Hard Labor Creek and now the Glades Reservoir.
    Remember he and other consultants make millions while the taxpayers pay through the nose
    and in many cases for nothing.

  3. Sixty Percent Water permalink
    September 14, 2011 8:52 am

    “Dollar for dollar, gallon for gallon, cheaper water supply alternatives exist for the fiscal conservative looking for economic certainty.”

    I keep reading/hearing this repeatedly but no one will share them with me.

    What are they? Help!

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