Two Cheers For The Hooch!

Take Action to Protect the
Chattahoochee River

Tell the Army Corps of Engineers to deny permits for the Glades and Bear Creek reservoirs!

Continuing our spotlight on America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2012, today is Chattahoochee River Day! 

In celebration, I wanted to share a story about my recent trip down the Chattahoochee, affectionately known by its admirers as “The Hooch.”

Zooming upstream in the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River, the flat-bottom jet propelled boat had to go top speeds to get us through some very shallow stretches.  As little as four inches of water in places, as well as plenty of rocks and turtles, made it challenging to make our way, but after about 20 minutes we arrived at our destination – the proposed withdrawal point for a new reservoir. 

It’s hard to believe that a withdrawal for a proposed pump-storage dam and reservoir would remove nearly half of the flow from this stretch of river.  Just upstream of Lake Lanier, the water source for much of metro Atlanta, the proposed Glades reservoir would remove up to 100 million gallons a day from the river.  That’s water lost to downstream industry and communities, water lost to Lake Lanier, and water lost to the whole river basin.

And this is not the only pump storage dam-reservoir proposal on the Chattahoochee.  Just south of Atlanta there is a proposed $100 million Bear Creek dam and reservoir that would remove 40 million gallons a day from the river.

In both cases, the communities the reservoirs are supposed to serve already have secure and reliable water supplies, so it is unclear what water supply need these reservoirs are supposed to fill.  And in both cases these reservoirs are expected to cost their communities hundreds of millions of dollars. 

So if the communities don’t need the water and the taxpayers certainly don’t need the significant expense – who exactly ‘needs’ these reservoirs? Who is winning by having these reservoirs built? It’s certainly not the taxpayer, ratepayer, or the river! 

In each case the land surrounding the reservoir is owned by developers ready to profit from the increased property value from new lakefront property. Bear Creek Reservoir alone has just requested over $22 million in state grant money and another $12 million in state-backed loans. Should taxpayers and ratepayers foot the bill for this private development?

The Chattahoochee River runs through the heart of metro Atlanta and is a resource for communities in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.  It must be protected from unchecked and unnecessary withdrawals that threaten the rivers’ flows and health and the health of its communities. 


To lend your voice to this effort to protect the Chattahoochee tell the Army Corps of Engineers to deny permits for the Glades and Bear Creek reservoirs!