The Operations Committee of the Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority will meet Friday to determine how it should “respond” to a Jefferson plan to withdraw water from the North Oconee River.
The authority manages the Bear Creek Reservoir, which provides water for Jackson, Barrow, Clarke and Oconee counties. Since its source of water is the Middle Oconee River, it is unclear how the Environmental Protection Division’s potential granting of the permit to take water out of the North Oconee River would affect the regional reservoir.
But that clearly is a concern. An e-mail notice of the called meeting states “Some members recently learned of efforts by the City of Jefferson to obtain a Water Withdrawal Permit for a proposed reservoir. The Operations Committee is meeting Friday and will review this matter. At our called meeting, we will hear a report from the Operations Committee, determine the impact on UOBWA efforts, and develop a response to EPD regarding this matter.”
The meeting will be held at 9:30 at the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center, Research Road, Athens.
The EPD sent out a notice of its intent to grant the Jefferson permit and is inviting comments. The proposed permit would allow Jefferson to pump an average of 4 million gallons a day (mgd) from the river into its proposed Parks Creek Reservoir. A second permit would allow the city to withdraw up to 5.3 mgd from that reservoir for treatment.
The EPD notice gives interested parties until Sept. 8 to comment on the proposed permits.