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TDEC Meeting Next Step For Cumberland Plateau Water Authority, Officials

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
TDEC Meeting Next Step For Cumberland Plateau Water Authority, Officials

Cumberland Plateau Water Authority Chair Greg Hanson will meet with TDEC officials to discuss the future of a regional water system looks like to the state.

Hanson will be joined by Crossville Mayor R.J. Crawford and Cumberland County Mayor Allen Foster. Hanson said he wants to get acquainted with TDEC now that the Authority has a board in place. He also wants the state’s opinion on the most appropriate water sources for Cumberland County.

“Do they have any thoughts as to where the next water source for the Cumberland Plateau should come from,” Hanson said. “What is their perspective? Is it a new reservoir? Is it a pipeline? Is it something that we haven’t considered yet?”

Hanson said he is confident that TDEC will encourage the regionalization of water when they meet. He said he expects the state to urge Crossville to participate in that process. Crossville is currently discussing a potential referendum over whether they will continue to control their water.

“I think from the state’s perspective, the more likely path to approval for new projects is if we come together as a group, as a region, and propose larger solutions, than if individual utility districts in the city come forward with things that only address the needs in a limited area,” Hanson said.

Hanson said an attorney will update the board on what Crossville’s referendum plans look like at the board meeting on Monday. He said part of his concern with the referendum is that Crossville will have residents voting that are not current customers of Crossville Water, and customers living outside of city limits who cannot vote.

“The ultimate objective here is still the same,” Hanson said. “To create a viable resource that serves everybody in the Cumberland Plateau region, not only today, but going forward, given the growth that we’ve seen and that we expect we will continue to see. Doing it in little stove-pipe approaches is not the most effective and efficient way, and it’s certainly not the way that the state is going to provide us the most support.”

Hanson said there has been a proposal for a Clear Creek Reservoir north of Crossville for some 20 years. He said he is eager to ask TDEC if Clear Creek Lake is a viable candidate for a reservoir, or if the costs of construction and mitigation make the project too expensive.

“There really needs to be something that is more centralized in nature,” Hanson said. “Something where the utilities themselves can share resources to include pipelines and the ability to move water between systems, and an approach that’s wholistic for the region in total.”


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