Governor Joe Frank Harris established a Growth Strategies Blue Ribbon Panel in 1987 to address what the State needed to do to promote positive economic and population growth. The ongoing growth, primarily in north Georgia, was rampant and the concern was that it would end up hurting the State rather than helping it. This panel made recommendations primarily addressing planning which lead to the Growth Strategies Act in 1988.

The emphasis on planning was later coupled with the concern over the impacts of the 1986 drought and a recommendation was made to provide the authority to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) (not the Environmental Protection Division) to build, own and operate water supply systems, including reservoirs. This act passed relatively easily.

The act was coupled with funding to the DNR. The funding was dedicated to the West Georgia Regional Water Authority to focus on a reservoir in the Tallapoosa Basin. This reservoir project has since been abandoned.

The Department did not undertake any other projects and actions under this act were dormant for many years. In 2009, the powers granted under this act were transferred to the Georgia Environmental Financing Authority. These powers can be found in OCGA 12-5-483 et seq.