COVINGTON -- Newton County will receive a $21 million loan to construct Bear Creek Reservoir through the Governor's Water Supply Program.
The loan is being administered through the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
The county will pay zero interest for the first three years of construction, 1 percent for the remainder of construction, accrued and capitalized, and 1.82 percent during the repayment period once construction is complete. The county will make interest-only payments the first seven years of the 40-year loan and will pay principal and interest afterward and will not be charged a closing fee.
The total cost of Bear Creek Reservoir is $62,685,831, according to a press release issued by GEFA.
The 1,242 acre pumped-storage reservoir will have a water intake on the Alcovy River. The reservoir is being designed to yield 28 million gallons per day.
According to County Manager John Middleton, the loan will fund the first phase, construction of the dam and reservoir. The other phases -- construction of the pump station and water treatment plant -- will account for the remainder of the cost, he said.
"These phases can be constructed as future water supply demand and projections require," he said.
Middleton said that his understanding from the county attorney is that the permit will be issued this fall, as indicated by the state and federal agencies handling the permitting process. Once permitted and the dam design is completed and approved by Georgia Safe Dams, construction could begin in late 2013 to early 2014, Middleton said, take about 24 months to complete and, depending on natural rainfall, a year or so to fill.
GEFA and DCA awarded nearly $90.5 million in loans and more than $9 million state direct investment for eight water supply projects through the Governor's Water Supply Program.
Gov. Nathan Deal directed GEFA to develop and launch the program in 2011 and committed $300 million to the program over four years. The program assists local governments with developing new sources of water supply to meet future water demand forecasts.
"Georgia has proactively sought solutions to the water supply issue, including developing new water sources and promoting water conservation," said GEFA Executive Director Kevin Clark. "By ensuring adequate supply through both new water sources and conservation, Georgia's water needs can be met."
GEFA received 15 applications from communities seeking more than $195 million in funding for water supply projects. Local governments can apply in the second and third rounds of the program in January 2013 and January 2014.