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Masking the Tasking

November 18, 2009

Ever since Judge Magnuson threatened to turn off the Lake Lanier tap that supplies water to millions of metro Atlantans, Gov. Perdue has been in crisis mode. Lame Duck Perdue hastily assembled a Water Contingency Task Force to survey water supply alternatives that range from reservoirs to conservation for Georgia in general and metro Atlanta in particular.

According to Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jay Bookman, “both the press and the public were barred from attending” the Task Force’s meetings even though the Task Force is “funded with taxpayers’ money.” Here is Bookman’s take.

The editors over at the Athens Banner-Herald added that Georgians should be concerned that “business interests are heavily represented” on the Task Force. Furthermore, it remains unclear where these real estate, industrial and commercial water interests are getting their demographic, scientific and water data, or how they are massaging the numbers.

In clear push-back mode or in self-defense, the Task Force’s co-chairs validated their own work in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-ed. In a strange twist, Coke exec John Brock and Tim Lowe now declare “water is a finite resource” after elected folks and the Atlanta Regional Commission have repeatedly told Georgians we have plenty of water now and for the future. We hope they are being honest and not pumping crisis talk in order to push expensive new water storage projects like reservoirs or desalination. The co-chairs also claim that some water supply solutions “may be relatively simple to implement.” Without specific examples, we can only hope this includes retrofit-on-resale, sub-metering or fixing leaky municipal pipes, and could include expanding storage capacity in existing reservoirs. But other solutions “may require more of a sacrifice.” If the public were allowed to participate in the Task Force meetings, Georgians – and all downstream communities and neighbors – would have a better idea of who will have to make those sacrifices. During an election year, knowledge is power, and it doesn’t hurt to have an unelected Task Force come up with solutions while leaving the rest of us high and dry. Read Brock and Lowe for yourself.

 

Ever since Judge Magnuson threatened to turn off the Lake Lanier tap that supplies water to millions of metro Atlantans, Gov. Perdue has been in crisis mode. Lame Duck Perdue hastily assembled a Water Contingency Task Force to survey water supply alternatives that range from reservoirs to conservation for Georgia in general and metro Atlanta in particular.

According to Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jay Bookman, “both the press and the public were barred from attending” the Task Force’s meetings even though the Task Force is “funded with taxpayers’ money.” Here is Bookman’s take.

The editors over at the Athens Banner-Herald added that Georgians should be concerned that “business interests are heavily represented” on the Task Force. Furthermore, it remains unclear where these real estate, industrial and commercial water interests are getting their demographic, scientific and water data, or how they are massaging the numbers.

In clear push-back mode or in self-defense, the Task Force’s co-chairs validated their own work in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-ed. In a strange twist, Coke exec John Brock and Tim Lowe now declare “water is a finite resource” after elected folks and the Atlanta Regional Commission have repeatedly told Georgians we have plenty of water now and for the future. We hope they are being honest and not pumping crisis talk in order to push expensive new water storage projects like reservoirs or desalination. The co-chairs also claim that some water supply solutions “may be relatively simple to implement.” Without specific examples, we can only hope this includes retrofit-on-resale, sub-metering or fixing leaky municipal pipes, and could include expanding storage capacity in existing reservoirs. But other solutions “may require more of a sacrifice.” If the public were allowed to participate in the Task Force meetings, Georgians – and all downstream communities and neighbors – would have a better idea of who will have to make those sacrifices. During an election year, knowledge is power, and it doesn’t hurt to have an unelected Task Force come up with solutions while leaving the rest of us high and dry. Read Brock and Lowe for yourself.

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