The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District was created by the Georgia General Assembly in 2001 to establish policy, create plans and promote intergovernmental coordination of all water issues in the District from a regional perspective. The District includes fifteen counties and over ninety cities within the metro Atlanta region.
The District’s purpose is to develop regional and watershed-specific plans for stormwater management, wastewater treatment and water supply and conservation.
Launching and sustaining this effort required unprecedented levels of interagency cooperation as local governments were forced to alter “go-it-alone” approaches. Not all embraced this prospect. Several lawsuits loomed.
Group Solutions was engaged to design a transparent process for stakeholder engagement that would identify consensus positions, resolve conflicts and provide and an open process for public involvement.
Stakeholder teams included local basin advisory councils, technical coordinating committees and District Board members. These groups included Federal, State, City and County governments, conservation groups, water treatment and supply engineers, local business and property owners, consultants and the general public. 38 facilitated meetings were held from January 2002 to March 2003. Three comprehensive water plans were adopted in 2003:
1. A District-wide Watershed Management Plan
2. Long-term Wastewater Management Plan for consolidation of public wastewater treatment systems
3. Water Supply and Water Conservation Management Plan providing for the continued use of existing reservoirs, completion of new reservoirs and expansion of 25 existing treatment facilities with a single new facility.