News | January 7, 2010

As Georgia’s Water Woes Persist, SELC Keeps Focus on Conservation

The drought may be behind us, but water management remains a front-burner political issue in Georgia. In the wake of a federal court ruling last summer in the protracted tri-state water wars, lawmakers in this year’s General Assembly face tough decisions about how the state will steward this precious resource.

In essence, the judge said metro Atlanta has been drawing its drinking water from Lake Lanier illegally, and he gave Georgia, Alabama, and Florida three years to resolve their dispute over the allocation of shared waters in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin. The decision amounts to a stinging rebuke of business as usual in metro Atlanta, which has allowed growth to run rampant without sufficient consideration of water needs.

As the state legislature takes up this matter, SELC and its partners will ensure that lawmakers recognize that conservation is vital to ensuring a reliable water supply for Atlanta and other fast-growing metro areas. We will also counter attempts to use the judge’s ruling as a pretext for promoting new reservoirs, inter-basin transfers, and other engineered fixes that jeopardize the state’s rivers and streams and encourage growth in areas where naturally available water supplies can’t sustain it.

As we advocate wise use of water resources in Georgia, we are also encouraging Alabama to improve its water management in light of the court decision.