Georgia Voices: A water-sharing plan
by The Savannah Morning News
October 28, 2013 10:09 PM | 1083 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Georgians who live in this part of the state should oppose a new water-sharing plan that has the potential to hurt downstate communities and their future economies.

With little fanfare or notice, new rules are now in place that allow the state to gain access to some of the reservoirs planned to help supply metro Atlanta and other fast-growing areas of north Georgia with water.

This setup would give the state a mechanism to transfer water from reservoirs in one watershed and move it to another for the first time.

Such a power grab is uncalled for. It merits a thumbs down from the state Board of Natural Resources. ...

Building reservoirs is a time-tested, if expensive, way to help specific areas survive droughts. But transferring water from one reservoir to another is a new concept that has a potential for political abuse. It sets up a situation where water could be collected and stored near the headwaters of the Savannah River, then transferred to reservoirs that serve water-starved areas around Atlanta and northwest Georgia.

That means communities like Savannah, Augusta and Athens could pay a price in terms of less surface water, a growing source of future drinking water.

Shane Hix, a spokesman for the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority that operates the program, generally pooh-poohed such a threat. ...

One of the biggest, long-term issues that Georgia faces is water management. Put simply, the population growth in and around Atlanta — which is where the state’s political muscle is — can’t be sustained because of limited water in that part of the state.

The state has been drought-free lately. So the water issue isn’t on the public’s radar screen. ...

The Georgia Water Coalition, a broad-based advocacy group, reports that metro Atlanta could save between 120 and 200 million gallons of water per day by implementing water efficiency and conservation. This translates into savings of up to $700 million, the group reports.

The initial rules on dishing out state grants were part of a program that Gov. Nathan Deal launched in 2011. The implementation has exposed a flaw that was known from the start: Reservoirs aren’t cheap. Local governments clearly want the state to eat the lion’s share of the costs. But giving up rights to future water, which is what the new rules mandate, isn’t the way to go.

Such a scenario essentially anoints the state as water lord. ...

The golden rule would take effect — he who has the gold makes the rules. Then the water-grabbing could begin.



Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides