Background & Governance
The JCWSA was created as a political subdivision of the State of Georgia by an act of the Georgia General Assembly in 1986 to facilitate providing water and sewer service to citizens of Jackson County. The JCWSA is governed by a 5-member board of directors, each of whom must reside in Jackson County, and each is appointed by the board of commissioners of Jackson County. Members serve staggered 3-year terms without compensation for a period not to exceed 9-years. An Authority member can not be reappointed after 3 consecutive terms without at least one year of inactive status. Currently, the board members are:
- Dylan Wilbanks, Chairman
- Pat Bell, Vice-Chair
- Christopher Nichols
- Don Clerici
- Jim Smith
Our board members from years past are listed here: Board Members.
The JCWSA operates as an independent political subdivision of the state, similar to counties and cities in Georgia. However, the Authority is not a taxing entity and therefore operates as an enterprise, meaning it operates solely off of the revenues from water and sewer billings and fees.
In the past, the JCWSA did receive a percentage of the Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) dollars from Jackson County. SPLOST dollars were used exclusively for large water projects including transmission lines, large mains, water towers and pumping stations. At the close of the 2011 calendar year, the Authority no longer received any portion of SPLOST.
With the voter passage of SPLOST #6 in March of 2016, the Authority will once again be receiving a percentage of the one percent tax and continue to address water needs in Jackson County. Details of approved water projects may be found through the following link: SPLOST #6 Project Booklet
For additional information, please go visit our Past Projects and Milestones section.
Your Water. Where Does It Come From?
The majority of water supplied by the JCWSA is purchased from the Bear Creek Reservoir and Water Treatment Plant. The 505-acre reservoir is located in extreme southwest Jackson County. This water is pumped into the adjacent water plant where the water is conditioned and filtered, after which it is chlorinated and pumped into JCWSA’s system ready for use.
The Bear Creek Reservoir and Treatment Plant is owned and operated by the Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority (UOBWA), an independent political subdivision of the State of Georgia. There are (4) counties that own a share of the reservoir and (3) counties that own a share of the treatment plant:
Jackson County’s share of the reservoir is 25%; its share of the treatment plant is 43.9%.
Questions on bylaws or specific policies and procedures of the UOBWA should be directed to the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center in Athens at (706) 369-5650 or www.bearcreekwtp.com.
The JCWSA has the ability to, and does from time-to-time, purchase treated water from the City of Commerce at northeast Jackson County. This is done mainly in response to high demands on the system such as water main breaks or other unforeseen circumstances.
Once the treated water is in our system, it is distributed throughout most of unincorporated Jackson County. In specific areas it must be re-pumped at one of our several booster stations so that the water pressure can be maintained at the higher elevations within the county. Generally the JCWSA does not supply water to many cities in the county since these cities have their own water systems, they being Jefferson, Commerce, Braselton, Maysville and Nicholson. The JCWSA has the ability to provide these communities with water when the need arises