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Forsyth County to Increase Water Reliability and Resiliency with New Lake Lanier Raw Water Intake

During their Nov. 23, 2021 work session, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners approved plans for the installation of a raw water intake facility that will withdraw water directly from Lake Lanier through a new structure. More information on the project, including an FAQ can be found by clicking here.

“This is a momentous day for Forsyth County that is the culmination of decades of planning by our County leaders past and present.” said County Manager Kevin Tanner. “Forsyth County will finally take control of our water future with our own water intake on Lake Lanier, which will result in savings to the County over many years to come. The Forsyth County Water Intake will provide reliability and resiliency of the water supply for more than 250,000 residents of Forsyth County and the surrounding area.”

The purpose of the facility is to:

•           Create a more resilient water supply during emergencies

•           Increase the reliability of the water supply with a separate intake for the County

•           Provide a redundant intake for the population of the County

•           Improve raw water quality and reduce treatment costs

Currently, Forsyth County and the City of Cumming water systems draw raw water from a single intake on Lake Lanier to serve the customers of both utilities, and Forsyth County pays the City of Cumming for its raw water. A favorable U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the decades-long multi-state water dispute known as the “Water Wars” cleared the way for Forsyth County to construct its own water intake.

The new intake will be in deep water and will be connected to a pump station by a 2,000 linear foot, 6-foot diameter tunnel below the lake bottom. The intake and pump station will be connected to the existing County water system with a three-mile extension of 48-inch transmission pipeline. The pump station will deliver 40 million gallons per day (MGD) of raw water after construction with provisions for an ultimate capacity of 80 MGD.

The new Forsyth County Water Intake will not increase Lake Lanier withdrawals, but will add reliability to the overall Forsyth-Cumming water system and will bring the County in line with neighboring Gwinnett County, which has two intakes on Lake Lanier.

The facility is expected to be completed and operational in five to six years from the time construction begins, weather permitting.

Once the facility is operational, the County will realize approximately $3.0 million annual savings in raw water purchases from the City of Cumming. The County is seeking $42.25 million in State Local Fiscal Recovery grant funds and will utilize an equal match from local bonds and capital contributions.

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