The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has agreed to Winder officials’ request to amend the city’s existing water withdrawal permit to significantly increase the city’s access to Fort Yargo State Park’s lake when the city's primary source of water — the Mulberry River — is running low.
Until now, the city system has been restricted to using only up to 1 million gallons of water per day during drought emergencies. But the amendment will give Winder about 391 million gallons of raw water storage capacity in the lake for times of drought, and in exchange, the city will improve some facilities used by recreational boaters at the lake.
“To minimize the effects on recreational facility use at Lake Yargo during the drought conditions… the City of Winder will commit to making one-time improvements at the following areas of Fort Yargo State Park: Campground Boat Ramp, Two Campground Boat/Fishing Docks, the Area ‘B’ Boat Ramp and Courtesy Dock, and the Beach/Boat Rental area,” states the special conditions attached to the amended permit.
Even with the larger permitted withdrawals, the city cannot reduce the lake level below 818.4 feet mean sea level, according to the special conditions. But if that happens, the permit allows the city also to take up to 1 million gallons of water per day from Cedar Creek.
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