ATLANTA -- In an apparent first for a public power agency in the Southeast, the South Carolina Public Service Authority is planning to build a bond-financed $44 million facility to provide wholesale water to local governments.

"This is a project we are well suited to build and finance and that would serve a clear need," Graham Edwards, a senior vice president for the authority, said Wednesday. He said the authority, commonly called Santee Cooper because of its origins in a navigation project to connect South Carolina's Santee and Cooper Rivers, plans to place the unit on the southern shore of Lake Moultrie, located about 40 miles north of Charleston.

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