MWA customers benefit from storage, production capacity

As many communities in North Georgia cope with falling reservoir levels and a complete ban on outdoor watering, customers of the Macon Water Authority (MWA) can take comfort knowing that their water utility has plenty of water available for them, thanks to the foresight and initiative of the Authority Board. More than 20 years ago, the Authority began its plan to construct its drinking water reservoir -- Javors Lucas Lake -- so MWA customers would be well supplied with drinking water today...

Apr 21st, 2008

MACON, GA, April 1, 2008 -- As many communities in North Georgia cope with falling reservoir levels and a complete ban on outdoor watering, customers of the Macon Water Authority (MWA) can take comfort knowing that their water utility has plenty of water available for them, thanks to the foresight and initiative of the Authority Board.

More than 20 years ago, the Authority began its plan to construct its drinking water reservoir -- Javors Lucas Lake -- so MWA customers would be well supplied with drinking water today. As a result, the Authority has plenty of water for production and sale to its customers, even now during a severe drought, says Tony Rojas, executive director of the MWA.

The Governor and State Legislature's plan this year to appropriate funding for additional reservoirs throughout Georgia resembles the days when the state sought locations for potential regional reservoirs back in the mid-1980's, says Frank C. Amerson, Jr., chairman of the board of the MWA.

"We started the plan to construct our reservoir back in 1987, when we began to locate and acquire the necessary land," says Amerson. "Back then, we could not furnish enough water for our growing customer base, with our limited withdrawal from the river and lack of storage. We knew we had to have the reservoir to survive."

Few people realize that the Authority's complementary Frank C. Amerson, Jr. Water Treatment Plant and Javors Lucas Lake, which coexist beautifully today at the Town Creek site, were actually constructed years apart, with funding coming from different sources.
Cooperation from Jones County, and quick maneuvering by the MWA Board to secure the land and provide the financing, enabled the Authority to complete reservoir construction by 1994, the year of the flood.

It was that 1994 flood, of course, which disabled the old Riverside Water Treatment Plant, requiring the Authority to identify another site to rebuild. The land the MWA had secured for its reservoir -- totaling 3,000 acres to accommodate the imprint of the 625-acre Javors Lucas Lake and additional area to protect the water body from drainage and future development -- made for an ideal site to build the new water treatment facility.

Today, the Frank C. Amerson, Jr. Water Treatment Plant, which opened in 2000 with 60 million gallons per day (MGD) of production capacity, and Javors Lucas Lake, which holds 6 billion gallons of raw water now that it is at full pool, are two of the major reasons why the Authority's water woes are a thing of the past.

"Everything just fell into place," says Amerson, reflecting on the laborious process of reservoir and plant construction, which now has the MWA in an enviable position among state water utilities. "It really worked out fine, but it never would have happened without people working together."

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Also see:
-- "MWA pursuing close to $22 million in capital projects"

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