Gwinnett officials consider water contingency plan

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett officials are making plans in case the county's largest water supply - Lake Lanier - runs dry.

Commissioners will consider a contingency plan Tuesday that would allow crews to mobilize barges, power supply and flexible pipelines to make contact to the county's intake wetwell in the lake, should levels dip "to an unacceptable level," according to paperwork on the proposal.

If the county administrator declares a water emergency, the county could require rationing. The plan would also authorize officials to make quick decisions on contractors if the need arises to reach the raw water supply.

Gwinnett County has two intakes on Lake Lanier at the elevation of 1,025 feet above sea level. As of Friday, the lake's elevation was 1052.4 feet above sea level, nearly 20 feet below its full level.

Officials do not expect the lake to refill "in the near term," according to a memo about the contingency plan.

"We believe that these actions will ensure a continuous supply of raw water to the intakes should the lake's water elevation decrease to below the raw water intakes gravity feed elevation," the memo said. "The "emergency' declaration will also allow any necessary budget adjustments to provide the necessary funding for these emergency measures."

Officials with the county's Water Resources Division, which supplies water to about 750,000 people, did not return phone messages Friday.