Institute Assists State Water Supply Plan Development
When Governor Nathan Deal issued an executive order for the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) to create a task force to spearhead the new Governorís Water Supply Program, GEFA turned to the Institute of Government to provide support for this major statewide initiative. The Institute delivers background information on water supply and public financing options, helps manage public meetings, and has constructed a website to provide the public with updates on the progress of the plan development and implementation.
A fast-growing population and ongoing disagreements with neighboring states about water rights have made water supply a critical issue in Georgia. Gov. Deal charged GEFA and the task force with developing a project selection system for cost-effective water supply projects, identifying project financing options, ascertaining key challenges to constructing new water supply facilities, and exploring opportunities for public private partnerships.
The Institute of Government is working with GEFA in a number of ways to help realize the expectations set out by the governor. Rob McDowell, director of the Instituteís Environmental Policy Program, is compiling a report that summarizes the findings of all water supply studies in Georgia over the past three years. Rob Gordon, an attorney specializing in public finance, will provide guidance on different financing opportunities available to fund the projects that are undertaken. He will also explore possibilities for public private partnerships, which became recently permissible through Senate Bill 122.
Other faculty and staff are assisting GEFA in public meetings management in different locations around the state. During these meetings, the task force subcommittees on technology and finance have the opportunity to hear from local government water experts on the supply needs and challenges of their communities.