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Georgia’s Faux Water Panic

December 1, 2009

Bert Brantley, Governor Perdue’s spokesman, was quoted two weeks ago saying: “I don’t think anybody… believes the ruling will go into effect in 2012.”  Brantley was, of course, referring to Judge Magnuson’s threat to plug Lake Lanier and cut off metro-Atlanta’s water supply.

If the Gov’s office really believes the ruling will not go into effect, then why is the Gov’s Water Contingency Task Force operating under the assumption that Lake Lanier will not get re-authorized? Read about Task Force’s latest assumptions in this slide show.

If Brantley was speaking the truth when he wandered off message, it means the following:

First, the Task Force has ratcheted up the water crisis to justify energy intensive desalination, expensive pipeline systems, and untested solutions like aquifer injections as reported in the Atlanta Business ChronicleJoe Cook, of the Coosa River Basin Initiative, and other water watchers conclude these solutions make the contingency plan “a public works project for engineering firms.”

Second, the Dawson Forest Reservoir does not need to get pushed through at the expense of Atlanta’s taxpayers or the Coosa watershed’s health.  For more on this potential financial fiasco, go here.

Third, Gwinnett County, which gets all of its water from Lanier, will not need to bankroll Oconee County’s Hard Labor Creek regional reservoir. See Lee Becker’s take on this potential inter-basin transfer involving an intra-state river.

Fourth, Georgia’s Congressional delegation may not play nice with the Gov when re-authorization comes up and will face increasingly emboldened Florida and Alabama delegations.  U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) was “miffed,” according to Tom Baxter, when the Gov brushed off a letter from the three states’ Congressional-folk encouraging their Governors to get their act together ASAP.

We all need to remember that the Gov’s Water Contingency Task Force is not producing a water management plan for Georgia.  The Task Force solutions are designed to feed metro-Atlanta while asking the state’s other municipalities and watersheds to make sacrifices.


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