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Sen. Tolleson Offers Mechanism to Fund Water Projects | Business

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Sen. Tolleson Offers Mechanism to Fund Water Projects

Sen. Ross Tolleson (R-Perry) has introduced a bill that creates new options for financing water projects in communities throughout the state. 

That is according to a Senate Press Office news release.

The Georgia Public/Private Water Supply Act of 2011 (Senate Bill 122) will allow state and local governments to voluntarily partner with private investors on the construction of reservoirs and other water infrastructure projects.

“As we establish a framework for how Georgia’s going to meet its future water needs, local governments must maintain control over their water resources.  This legislation aims to strengthen local control by allowing local governments to identify, propose, negotiate and award public/private water supply and water treatment projects,” said Tolleson.  “In such difficult economic times, it’s imperative that we utilize our private sector partnerships to help expand Georgia’s water supply.  The future of Georgia businesses, local governments and the state all depend on maintaining adequate water resources.”

The process outlined in the bill is similar to the public/private procurement code that has been successfully implemented at the Georgia Department of Transportation and would provide a new, viable option for financing as local governments and the state continue to face significant budget challenges. 

The legislation aligns with Governor Nathan Deal’s efforts to ensure that Georgia will be able to meet its long-term water needs. 

State leaders are working to ensure that any legislation regarding Georgia’s water supply meets the recommendations of the Water Contingency Task Force, a group of government, business and environmental leaders from across the state. 

Early last year, the task force recommended that any future water planning focus on statewide conservation, capture and control of the state’s water supply.  As continued access to adequate water resources remains in question for future use, Tolleson’s bill could be used to accelerate access to the creation of future water supplies for needy areas of the state. 

As chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, Tolleson passed the most comprehensive water conservation bill in Georgia’s history last year, which outlines proactive steps in planning for water enhancement during future extreme drought conditions and additional water emergencies.

Perry Businesses