Lake Lanier is a major source of water supply to the North Georgia region. Many communities surrounding Lake Lanier rely on it for both discharge of effluent as well as their sourcewater for drinking purposes. This practice, known as indirect potable reuse or surface water augmentation, provides a sustainable water supply solution for the region’s growing population. Specifically, in Gwinnett County, Georgia, the majority of the county’s 56 MGD of treated wastewater is discharged to the Lake, which is also the primary drinking water source. This transformation of wastewater into a valuable supply of sourcewater requires careful planning, monitoring, and protection of Lake Lanier.
While there have been various water research projects and planning efforts implemented throughout the Lake Lanier Watershed in the past, there does not exist a centralized coordinated plan that documents, facilitates, and coordinates an approach to developing the ideation, planning, prioritization, management, resourcing, and funding of applied water research projects.
In response to this identified need, The Water Tower, the new global innovation hub in Gwinnett County, Georgia, is leading the effort to create a forum through which stakeholders and researchers will work together to develop a Lake Lanier Watershed Research Master Plan. The Plan will provide a multi-year research roadmap of project concepts to address critical needs in the Lake Lanier Watershed. Funding for prioritized projects will be crowdsourced among the stakeholders and the be the focus of nonprofit, public and private grant applications. The research projects will be competitively bid, with regional and international 3rd party technical expert oversight, and managed by The Water Tower, a 501c3 focused on research and innovation.