Man-made Reservoir Causes Controversy

There is a lot of concern about possible water shortages in the Wiregrass. Support for a man-made reservoir to handle the area's future water needs came before the Coffee County Commission yesterday.

Could the 30 million gallons of water supplied by the little Choctawhatchee River reservoirs supply the future drinking needs of the Wiregrass?

With the dwindling underground, aquifer water supply, officials and residents say the issue must be addressed now and quickly.

“We’ve been knocking this around for ten-years it's about time we do something, when you turn on the faucet nothing will come out" says one concerned resident.

Roxanne Grice manages a convenience store in Clayhatchee along the Choctawhatchee River.
Fishing poles and bait helps pay the bills. But folks worry that making it a possible water supply will kill recreation.

"I think if they do something like that with all the water lines, it'll kill recreation opportunities. I'm concerned about it" says Grice.

One chairman on the Coffee County commission says, "We feel by getting it a regional opportunity, it'll help bring more money hopefully from Washington."

Back in the 1950's deer Point Lake was built in central Bay County. The above ground supply provides the majority of water needs for Panama City, the beaches, and surrounding communities.

Several Wiregrass officials say a similar lake is needed in southeast Alabama.

The estimated price tag for the man-made reservoir is not complete. But all of Wiregrass counties and municipalities are expected to share in the cost.

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