Mon., November 23, 2009 2:08pm (EST)

Billions at Stake in Water War
By Valarie Edwards & Susanna Capelouto
Updated: 4 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
A water task force is charged with finding an alternative should Atlanta lose Lake Lanier as a drinking water source.
A water task force is charged with finding an alternative should Atlanta lose Lake Lanier as a drinking water source.
Georgia’s water task force held its second meeting Monday afternoon at the Governor’s mansion.

About 150 stakeholders and their representatives learned just how much water is at stake if a federal judge’s ruling that Georgia is illegally taking water from Lake Lanier holds.

Metro Atlanta could lose up to 280 million gallons of water a day.

Hardest-hit would be Gwinnett, Forsyth and Hall counties.

Businesses could take a hit, too, by an estimated $26 to $39 billion a year.

Conservation measures discussed today include gray water recycling, tapping into ground water, and desalinizing sea water from Georgia’s coast.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has started to rewrite the manual it uses to control water flows in the Chattahoochee River Basin.

That rewrite could leave Atlanta high and dry unless Georgia, Alabama and Florida agree on how to share water from the federal reservoir.

Congressmen from all states have said the governors need to get together and solve the problem. Currently, however, Georgia has the most to lose and is in a tough spot.

Florida and Alabama would come out ahead if the judge’s ruling stands and may have little incentive to restart negotiations.


Contributors: Rickey Bevington