“These leaders from across Georgia looked all possible solutions and let the facts drive their recommendations,” said Perdue. “They have done an outstanding job and I commend them for their hard work and commitment to Georgia. I look forward to continuing to work with the task force members as we work together to ensure sufficient water resources for Georgia's future.”
The task force recommended a mix of actions known as the “3Cs” – conserve, capture and control. These include the following:
• conserve - aggressive conservation measures and reducing loss from leaks
• capture - expanding existing reservoirs and building new ones
• control - restrictions on outdoor water use and requirements for plumbing upgrades
After receiving a final round of feedback on the draft recommendations, the task force will present final recommendations to the Governor later this month.
“We are vitally concerned about this pivotal moment in our state’s history,” said task force co-chair John Brock, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises. “We firmly believe this crisis can be dealt with, but it will take bold leadership and aggressive action. We are recommending specific steps to the Governor, but our work is not over. We will continue to work with the Governor as these recommendations are considered by the Georgia General Assembly.”
“There’s no single magic solution for making sure we have enough water,” said task force co-chair Tim Lowe of Lowe Engineers. “We need a mix of options that follows our 3C’s strategy – conserve, capture and control. This includes aggressive conservation, fixing leaks, expanding existing reservoirs and building new ones. But it’s important for people to understand that even after doing all of that, we can’t close the gap between the water we have and the water we need by the three-year judge’s deadline. Lake Lanier is still the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly option, and needs to be part of the solution.”
An analysis by Boston Consulting Group, which provides technical expertise for the task force, shows that having a few additional years would allow Georgia to dramatically increase the number of options that could realistically be implemented from a cost and timing perspective.
“The more time we have, the more productive we can be,” Brock added. “While we cannot close the water gap by 2012, there are additional contingency options that can be implemented by 2015 and 2020. Emergency solutions are extremely costly, but having a few more years opens up a whole range of additional possibilities.”
The task force is part of the Governor’s four-pronged approach to dealing with Judge Paul Magnuson’s July ruling that would deny metro Atlanta the right to use Lake Lanier as a source of drinking water in 2012. One of the Governor’s strategies includes contingency planning if the judge’s ruling stands, which is the focus of the task force.
“This issue will affect Georgia for decades to come,” Lowe added. “In fact, our consultant’s analysis shows that metro Atlanta alone would take a $26 billion hit to its economy every year if we do nothing, and that would ripple throughout Georgia. We cannot allow that to happen.”