Sunday, October 11, 2009

Water War

Here in the Southeast, specifically, Georgia, Florida and Alabama, we're in the midst of a water war.

You see, much of the water used in North Georgia, East Alabama and the Florida Panhandle comes from a watershed that starts in the Appalachian Mountains, making its way into the Chattahoochee River basin to Lake Lanier and then down the river and its tributaries to the Gulf of Mexico.

Back in the 1950's, the Army Corps of Engineers built a dam on the Chattahoochee north of Atlanta creating Lake Lanier for a number of purposes, one of which was not the water needs of Atlanta. That became a problem as Atlanta grew and diverted more and more water from the basin.

The three States have been suing each other over water use for the past decade or so. This summer, Georgia got the short end of the legal stick when a U.S. District Judge ruled that Atlanta has no legal right to water from the basin, as that wasn't one of the purposes of the creation of the Lanier reservoir. We've got three years to make a deal, if we don't, he says he'll order that Atlanta revert to taking 1970's amounts of water from the basin. Atlanta's population has grown by about 150% since 1970, though it only takes about a percent of the basin's water.

So will the water tap in the kitchen slow to a trickle in 1012? Of course it won't, a deal will be done among the three States and confirmed by Congress. (Or we'll run a big hose to the Tennessee River that used to be part of Georgia until a surveying error way back when.)

Oh, and if you think this is a regional problem, think again, there are 27 other states that have reservoirs that weren't built to supply drinking water, our fight will becoming to a river near you.


Dr Jenn said...

you mean 2012?

The Curmudgeon said...

Yes, and we're building a wall around Lake Michigan right now to keep y'all out!