The agreement will be released to the public on May 1 for 30 days of public comment but it could be more than a year before the final plan is drawn.
Spokesmen said the plan sets flow rates in the Coosa River near Rome and has provisions on reservoirs and water withdrawals.
It also sets limits on a proposed Georgia regional reservoir and limits inter-basin transfers of water.
The details that are under wraps now could have major implications for Rome and the surrounding area, observers said.
Mitch Lawson, executive director of the Coosa River Basin Initiative, has a short list of issues he thinks are important to keep an eye on.
Lawson wants streams to flow naturally with the seasons to protect aquatic habitats, strict limits on moving water from basin to basin, a minimum flow consistent with current levels, a review panel and limits on how much water Atlanta can remove from the basin. “Otherwise they’re hurting us and they don’t need to,” he said.
The long delay in disclosure of details leaves Ron Papaleoni, the general manager of the Lake Tallapoosa Preservation Authority, in the dark but hopeful. “Certainly we’re very pleased to see this moving forward,” Papaleoni said. “It’s better to keep it in the local hands.”
Papaleoni said the big factor will be the maximum and minimum flows allowed during droughts. He said the flow of water is key to drinking water, economic development and environmental issues downstream. “You have to make sure that people in Rome have proper flows,” he said.
Each governor came forward to sign the draft ACT allocation formula. It could lead to a permanent water-sharing agreement for the next 30 years. It ends more than 10 years of debate.
Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and Alabama Gov. Bob Riley met at the Dothan Opera House Monday morning for an hour. They were later joined by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River talks