Big Problem with Solving Water Shortages: Splintering

  The Metro Atlanta area is facing another long hot summer as drought conditions continue. Lake Lanier did regain some of the water it lost to last summer’s drought, but it wasn’t enough to bring the lake back to full. It is 14.4 feet below full and falling as the sun evaporates more than two-tenths of an inch every day.

 

 

Lake Lanier, October, 2007

Lake Lanier, October, 2007

 

 

  Billy Turner, of the Columbus Water Works, indicated that the drought probably won’t be as severe as it was last summer. The highest drought level is a 4.. The only part of the state that is still at that level is in the north Metro Atlanta area. The rest of the area is down to a 3. Most of the state, including Columbus, which had reached the #3 level, is at a 2, and the southeastern part of Georgia is at 0.

 

 

Billy Tuner, Columbus Water Works President

Billy Turner, Columbus Water Works President

 

  Efforts in Metro Atlanta are still underway to conserve water, with things like washing cars at home being banned, and limited lawn watering in effect, but can such measures do the trick?

 

  The Corps of Engineers has been allowed to hold back a little more water at Lake Lanier and some other reservoirs in Georgia, but not much. The Corps is mandated to keep level of river flow that protects downstream, was held back because the Corps must maintain the downstream flow. Folks downstream, especially at Apalachicola, Florida, like it that way. Metro Atlanta people aren’t all that happy about that.

 

  This drought has really brought home the mistaken past philosophy of dealing with this problem, which was to ignore recommendations made by planners long ago.

 

  Rick Perlstein writes in Campaign for America’s Future, “Atlanta boomed in the wake of the monster capital investments made in anticipation of the 1996 Olympics, the magazine [Atlanta magazine] reports; ‘In 1990, the Atlanta area was projected to draw 800,000 new residents over the next twenty years; in the ten years following the Olympics, the total population increased by almost 1.4 million…. But in that same ten-year period, the reservoirs that supply our most vital resource grew not a bit.’

  Perlstein says that a 1969 study by the Atlanta Region Metropolitan Planning Commission said infrastructure changes would be needed to avoid critical water shortages when Atlanta’s population reached between three and five million. In the 1980s, planners proposed networks of reservoirs throughout North Georgia. The project was deemed too costly. Instead, “What did the Atlanta metropolitan area do instead? Issue building permits – 48, 262 in 1996; 68, 240 in 2006.”

Turner told me that the big problem in the past has been splintering. Each county was looking after its own self interest. That doesn’t work. When making comprehensive water plans the state as a whole has to be considered.  The way one county use water affects neighboring counties.

Well, the planners are at it again. This time they are saying that, even with the emergency conditions caused by the draught, Atlanta will have enough water for the city to grow to 8 million people by 2030. Turner doubts that. So do I.

As I have said before, they put atlanta in the wrong place. Columbus has a greater water supply than Atlanta. Turner has stated in the past that Coumbus could easily handle a population of 6 million people. Metro Atlanta already has almost 5 million and look at the problem it is facing. It will have enough enough water for 8 million. I don’t think so, unless it can tap into another river system like it is exploring on the Georrgia-Tennessee line. Some are claiming that the border line is incorrect and that the Tombigbe River at that point is actually in Georgia.  Pursuing this would, no doubt add Tennessee to the Water War now being fought between Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: