ATLANTA - Georgia lawmakers want the federal agency that manages the state's system of manmade lakes to explore the potential of a faster, cheaper solution to the state's water supply needs.
The House unanimously passed a resolution Friday that urges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Congress to examine the costs and effects of raising the levels of the lakes at full pool, an idea that began with the Lake Lanier Association.
The group of lakefront property owners has sent the Army Corps a letter asking it to look into raising the lake's level from 1,071 feet above sea level to 1,073 feet as an alternative to building expensive reservoirs.
"This minor raising would add an additional quantity of water supply equal in size to building another Lake Seminole,'' said Rep. John Heard, R-Lawrenceville, the resolution's sponsor.
Heard introduced the resolution as specific to Lake Lanier, but the House Natural Resources and Environment Committee broadened it to seek a study of raising levels of all of the lakes managed by the Corps, including lakes Hartwell and Russell on the Savannah River and West Point Lake and Lake Seminole along the lower Chattahoochee River.
"Water quantity is a major issue,'' Heard told his House colleagues. "Raising the levels of the pools would take care of a lot of our needs.''
House members approved the resolution 153-0 without debate and sent it to the Senate.
A similar resolution also is pending in the upper chamber. However, the Senate measure - sponsored by freshman Sen. Lee Hawkins, R-Gainesville, would only apply to Lake Lanier.
It cleared the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee on Thursday.