The Athens-Clarke County government putting measures in place to address long-term water storage, by approving the purchase of the Rock Hill Quarry in Athens for long-term water storage.
Mayor Kelly Girtz explains the reasoning behind the decision.
“Wanting to be more heavily invested in water reuse, and so that's the phenomenon in which we take water that has come down our drains, could get modestly amended, and be for non-potable uses, as for industrial uses, and stored for some period of time before ultimately, being reused.”
Athens was under a Level 4 Drought for five months and Level 3 for six months during the 2007-2008 drought. A situation which factored into the resolution.
“This would ensure such an enormous measure of resiliency for this community. I think that we would never find ourselves again, and future generations would never find themselves in the boat that we found ourselves in in 2007.
The cost of acquiring the quarry is $23 million, with $8 million of that being offset by mining royalties. Once completed in fiscal year 2034, it is expected to hold between 4-5 billion gallons of water. The Bear Creek Reservoir holds 4.6 billion gallons of water. Unlike Bear Creek, this water is solely for Athens.