The Douglasville-Douglas County Water and Sewer Authority hit a significant milestone in their on-going plan to expand the Dog River Reservoir earlier this month. After five years of studies, applications, reviews, and coordination with several federal agencies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted WSA a permit to bring the project to fruition.

Facing a county population that is projected to double in the next 50 years, this project has been incredibly important to secure the future of water resources for the community, according to the WSA.

“The permitting process typically lasts much longer than it did, around 10 years or so” said Executive Director Gil Shearouse. “WSA was able to get the reservoir expansion permit granted in just over two years after applying and we are excited to start moving forward. We are grateful for the support from our partners at the Corps, the state, and our community.”

Although WSA has made it past the permitting stage, citizens of Douglas County shouldn’t expect to see a brand new reservoir any time soon. Now comes the even more arduous task of construction which will include building two new intake structures, raising the Highway 166 bridge, building a new labyrinth weir dam, and relocating the Dog River Recreational Complex.

The process is expected to take another seven years before it is completely done and will come to a total cost of approximately $145 million dollars. The reservoir expansion will eventually become the largest public infrastructure investment in Douglas County’s history.

“This is a once in a lifetime project for our staff,” said Shearouse. “They have worked so hard to get to this point and are itching to get started on the construction phase.”

The current reservoir impounds 1.9 billion gallons of water. After raising the height of the dam an additional 35 feet, the expanded reservoir will hold around 6.5 billion gallons of water and will have the ability to provide Douglas County with water for approximately 283 days without rainfall.

Right now the Douglas County community uses around 12 million gallons of water each day. By 2065, population prediction models are forecasting that WSA will need to provide 23 million gallons daily to meet the needs of local residents and businesses.

The Bear Creek Water Treatment Plant, named 2020’s “Best Operated Water Treatment Plant” in the state, is already equipped with that treatment capacity after it was expanded in 2012. Expanding to Dog River Reservoir is an important part of securing water resources for the community and continuing to provide “award-winning service” to the Douglas County of the future.