Posted: 3:24 pm Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Why Georgia isn’t about to open a new front in the water wars 

By Greg Bluestein

Georgia’s got enough water-related headaches on its plate with the long-running fights against Alabama and Florida still raging. The state’s not about to open another water wars front against Tennessee.

That was the message Wednesday from Gov. Nathan Deal in remarks that came after a water policy speech he delivered to dozens of business leaders.

Proposals have been bubbling for years that attempt to grab disputed territory from our northern neighbor that could give the state coveted access to the Tennessee River. The latest, adopted last year, involves a proposal not to sue Tennessee if leaders there give Georgia an uninhabited strip of land that leads to the mighty river.

That proposal was met largely with derision by lawmakers there, leading some legislators in Georgia to warn of a lawsuit if no agreement is reached soon. The Chattanooga Times-Free Press mused that it was a “ticking bomb” that could lead to a larger legal battle.

Consider that bomb defused.

Said Deal:

“I think we are much better off to be able to talk with our friends and neighbors in adjoining states. I think the process still has possibilities of producing favorable results. I don’t think we need any more water wars in the courts right now.”


Now can we get real?

Focus on real conservation (without whining about the cost), raise the 'full pool level' of Lake Lanier by at least 2 feet if not 3 feet (which would be where it hovered most of last summer), and drop SB-213 into a dark hole and let it die.

There is no real likelihood that the EPA would EVER intervene against farmers (although it was a crafty ploy to get them to sign on to 213) or interrupt necessary agricultural water supplies. Of course better conservation in the agricultural sector is in order as well.

Allowing commercial commoditization of our long established riparian water rights would be a new low in the stupidest legislative errors yet made by the gop and their funders (always subject to change tomorrow).


Governor Deal did show some statesmanship and compromise when also announced yesterday his support to pass Senate Bill 213.  It would allow the state to invest in pumps that collect extra water supply in underground aquifers and return it to waterways during dry seasons to send more water downstream to Florida to help settle the long time legal battle.  One of Florida’s central legal claims is that reduced water flow from Georgia during dry seasons threatens endangered aquatic species in Florida’s Apalachicola Bay.