Army Corps of Engineers to Hear Comments About Lake Lanier

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ATLANTA (AP) - The US Army Corps of Engineers will take comments through December 29th on a plan to give metro Atlanta more water out of Lake Lanier.

In return for taking more water, Gwinnett County, the city of Gainesville and the Atlanta Regional Commission have agreed to pay $2.5 million a year to the corps for the operation costs of Buford Dam.

Gwinnett County would pay most of the bill because it draws the most water directly from the lake.

The corps originally signed the interim water storage contracts with those governments in 2003, but Alabama and Florida blocked them until a federal appellate court ruled against them.

Florida and Alabama want the water for their own needs -including Alabama's industrial water users and Florida's oyster industry in Apalachicola Bay.

About 14 percent of Lake Lanier's water is now set aside for the region's water needs.

The 10-to-20-year water storage contracts call for 23 percent of the lake to be reserved for metro Atlanta.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)