Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta water crisis’

The Tennessee River Solution

June 13, 2010
ATLANTA ATTORNEY SAYS THE U.S. SUPREME COURT WILL INEVITABLY END UP SETTLING THE   BORDER DISPUTE BETWEEN GEORGIA AND TENNESSEE

John Ross Bridge spanning the Tennessee River, Chattanooga, TN

 Atlanta attorney Brad Carver, who works with Governor Sonny Perdue and others on water matters, says tapping into the Tennessee River is the most practical solution to the Atlanta area’s water shortage problem.  Georgia maintains the state border at Nickajack was incorrectly surveyed in 1818, and the correct survey would put a section of the Tennessee in Georgia. 

Atlanta attorney Brad Carver, speaking to the Rotary Club of Columbus, Columbus, GA (Photo by Jim Cawthorne, Camera1)

Carver told Columbus Rotarians that Tennessee is already benefiting economically from Georgia’s water problem.  Prospective industries are becoming wary of North Georgia because of the problem, and some have already decided to locate in Tennessee instead. That’s one of the reasons, maybe the biggest one, that prompts Tennessee to tell Georgia to forget about it. 

 While Georgia is trying to work out something with Tennessee, Carver told me after his Rotary talk that inevitably the U.S. Supreme Court will decide who is right.  He wants Governor Perdue to go ahead and file suit against Tennessee so the court can start deliberating the case.  He said the court is charged with settling disputes between states.  When I reminded him that Perdue won’t be governor much longer, he agreed and said he hoped the suit would be filed soon. Once that legal ball gets rolling, Alabama is sure to get into the game because the Tennessee flows into Alabama. 

River Walk on the Chattahoochee River, Columbus, GA

As far as Georgia taking billions of gallons out of the Tennessee, he said the Tennessee River is so large that it can easily supply water to Atlanta without hurting Tennessee economically or environmentally.  While we may think the Chattahoochee is a big river, it is small compared to the Tennessee. He says the Tennessee is seventeen times as large as the Chattahoochee. 

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Will a Conservation Law and a Court Appeal Solve Atlanta’s Water Crisis?

April 19, 2010

When I visit my son, Rick, daughter-in-law, Marian, and my grandsons, Benjamin and Christopher, in Cumming, I always have the yen to take a look at the latest condition of Lake Lanier.  That’s because of the incredible drought scenes I saw in 2007.  The picture has definately changed. Rick took me for a ride across Buford Dam Saturday evening, and the lake is beautiful again.  It’s virtually full.   

Lake Lanier, Oct. 20, 2007

Lake Lanier, April 18,2010

But, the fight over drinking water withdrawal rights is far from beautiful. It’s downright ugly.  3 million people in the Atlanta area face the possible loss of their drinking water if some agreement is not reached with Florida and Alabama about who gets how much of  the water by July of 2012.  U.S. District Court Judge Paul Magnuson has ruled that Metropolitan Atlanta doesn’t have the right to continue withdrawing drinking water from the lake.  If you would like more detail on the history of Buford Dam and the lake, check out this link to Wikipedia. 

The state of Georgia is appealing Judge Magnuson’s ruling, and the legislature has just passed a conservation law to cut down on the consumption of water.  The idea in the conservation measure is to show Alabama and Florida that Georgia is willing to do something to ease the problem.  That’s the extent of what the Georgia legislature and Governor Sonny Perdue are doing to deal with this problem.  Will it be enough?  As we used to say in TV news when we ended a story like this, “Time will tell.” Well…it will.

Sidebar

 

Sen. Richard B. Russell, (D) Georgia, 1897-1971

I covered the dedication of Buford dam in 1957 for WSB Radio in Atlanta, interviewing the late and very powerful and grumpy U.S. Senator Richard B. Russell, who wasn’t very nice to me.  I shouldn’t have taken it personally because I later learned that it wasn’t just me. He didn’t like any reporters. He said they were the only people he had to talk to.  The late WSB Radio General Manager Elmo Ellis, a broadcast legend who was the station’s program manager when I was there,  told me that Russell had confessed that to him.  Russell never got married, by the way.