Fri., July 24, 2009 12:10pm (EDT)

Environmentalists Criticize Water Strategy
By Melissa Stiers
Updated: 5 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Lake Lanier is at the center of the tri-state water war. (photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
Lake Lanier is at the center of the tri-state water war. (photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
Environmentalists are criticizing Georgia's strategy in the tri-state water war.

Yesterday, the governor laid out the state’s approach, putting Georgia Power president and CEO Michael Garrett at the helm of a team to fashion the state’s response. Georgia Power is owned by Southern Company who also owns utilities in Alabama and Florida which could help the states come to an agreement.

But those utilities also use a lot of water… and environmentalists are upset with the choice.

"We’re kind of wondering why the private industry that uses the most water in the state is now going to be in charge of our water policy," said Mark Woodall, Chairman of the Sierra Club 's Georgia chapter.

Woodall says state-wide water conservation should be at the core of any initiative, as he says is the policy in other states with water supply issues.

A federal court ruled last week Georgia must get congressional approval in the next three years to use Lake Lanier to supply Atlanta’s water.

Meanwhile, lake levels are dropping, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers, because of recent dry weather. Climatologists expect the dry spell to continue in coming months.