On January 13th, 2011, Georgians4Power was granted a permit to being working on new coal fired power plants in south Georgia on the Oconee river. The new plant should use about up to 16,000,000 gallons per day during peak demand. About 1,500,000 gallons will be returned to the Oconee River. The difference between water intake and return is due to the water used by the wet scrubbers and water lost through evaporation in the cooling towers.
Plant Washington will obtain its water primarily from the Oconee River. When river flows are too low, water will be drawn from the Cretaceous Aquifer. Water will be pumped from a series of wells located along a 27-mile pipeline. When water is being withdrawn from the aquifer, no water will be withdrawn from the river. The Oconee River can supply Plant Washington with water about 93% of the time.
According to the USGS stream flow data, the average flow of the Oconee River is about 16,000 CFS or 1.4 billion gallons per day. On a typical day, Plant Washington will use less than one-percent of the flow of the river. On a peak day, this is just above one percent. When the river flow is such that water must be obtained from the aquifer, Plant Washington will continue to return about 1.5 MGD into the river—thus helping to enhance its downstream flow even during “dry” periods.
Georgians4Power fails to mention was made as to how the aquifer gets its water and what effects might be felt along the 27 miles where the water will be drawn.