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Rise of the Zombies: Reservoirs on Hold

April 26, 2016

 

As already covered by the Gainesville Times, Hall County hit “pause” on Glades Reservoir about two weeks ago.

The project was “administratively withdrawn” on April 15, 2016.  You can read Hall County’s letter explaining why, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ response.  Glades joins four other reservoir projects—in Dawson, Carroll, Fulton and Newton counties—in this same category.

What exactly does this mean?

In the short term, it means there are no reservoir proposals under active consideration in Georgia right now.  That is big news.  And it also explains the ‘rise of the zombies.’  These projects will survive on paper and in the imaginations of some proponents.

According to the Corp of Engineers, when a project is administratively withdrawn the Corps will stop actively evaluating a project in the Section 404 permit application process.  A withdrawal can be made at the request of the applicant or the Corps.  In either case, when a project’s file is administratively withdrawn, the file moves from the desktop into the filing cabinet (which is different from the trash can) until the applicant provides relevant and updated information.  You can find more detail here; scroll down and look under the “Frequently asked questions about USACE reservoir” heading.

So, when a project is “administratively withdrawn,” the project is not technically dead.  But the onus is on the applicant to provide robust and relevant information to the Corps before the file moves from the file cabinet back to the desktop.

Why did Hall County withdraw the Glades Reservoir application?  For very simple and basic reasons that we have set forth previously.  First, the county needs to revisit new population projections.  Second, the county needs to re-evaluate future water demand.  And third, Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division rescinded the project’s certification of need.

We have long argued that water supply reservoir applicants used aggressive population projections and over estimated future water demand.  We were pleased to see the state agree that the project did not have any need as a water supply reservoir, but remain concerned the state will pursue the project as a flow augmentation project.  You can read more about Glades starting here.

-Chris Manganiello

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