Madison County’s industrial authority has worked in recent years to form water links with other northeast Georgia counties.
Local leaders say that establishing regional connections is the best way to bring industry to the county and to protect the county from severe droughts in years to come.
But not all area officials are excited about such plans.
Last week, Toccoa city commissioners revoked a letter of support for a proposed multi-million dollar, state-funded project to connect area water systems. Toccoa leaders met with engineer Chris Quigley to discuss the plans. Quigley was hired by Madison and Elbert county officials, who seek $10 million from the Governor’s Water Supply Program to connect water systems in five northeast Georgia counties: Madison, Elbert, Stephens, Franklin and Oglethorpe.
Charlie Bauder of WNEG Radio in Toccoa reported May 23 that Toccoa’s mayor David Austin signed a letter of support for the project on behalf of the city. But city commissioner Terry Carter said he felt the commission should have discussed the letter before it was signed. Carter said Toccoa’s water should benefit economic growth in Toccoa, not in Madison or Oglethorpe counties.
“I do not have a problem selling to Franklin County and Habersham County,” said Carter. “Our people can drive there to work if they had to. I have a problem providing water all the way down to Madison and Oglethorpe. I do not want to ship our resources that far south when we need it to attract industry, the same type of industry Madison and Oglethorpe (counties) are trying to attract.”
Bauder reported that Toccoa has access to nine million gallons of water a day and is using three million gallons daily.
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