To meet a growing population’s need for clean, safe drinking water, Walton County developed the Hard Labor Creek reservoir, a 1,320-acre pumped storage reservoir that can hold 12 billion gallons and yield 52 million gallons a day. The county retained Schnabel to perform a subsurface exploration, a laboratory testing program, and a geotechnical engineering evaluation as the basis for the dam’s design and construction.

Metropolitan Atlanta’s increasing sphere of influence has had a significant impact on population growth in Walton County over the past 30 years. Water supply and population projections that suggested a shortfall of supply over demand was looming served as the impetus for the project. The resulting high-hazard structure is a 1,500-foot-long earthen embankment, 98 feet tall, featuring a 128-foot-wide labyrinth crested chute spillway and a 600-foot-wide vegetated auxiliary spillway.

During the planning stage, our primary focus was on long-term in-county needs, but we also considered the magnitude and timing of future water supply expansion and evaluated alternative regional water supply development opportunities. We were responsible for dam design and construction phase engineering services. During the filling of the reservoir, we also took monthly visual monitoring and instrumentation readings. Construction began in September 2013 and concluded in August 2015. A ribbon-cutting ceremony in March 2018 marked the reservoir’s official opening to the public for fishing.

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