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Friday, September 17, 2010 - 10:18am

Water Manual Ignores Atlanta's Growing Needs

The Army Corps of Engineers is not going to consider Atlanta’s growing water needs as it rewrites its control manuals for Lake Lanier. That decision doesn’t sit well with Georgia leadership.

The corps is reworking its control manual for Buford Dam at Lake Lanier, and it’s not including the future water supply needs of metro Atlanta in its environmental study. That’s the gist of a letter it recently sent to Georgia’s US senators who urged the Corps to do the opposite.

Attorney Todd Silliman represents Georgia in on-going water litigation. He says such a study would have proven that Lake Lanier is the best way to meet metro-Atlanta’s water needs. And he says the document could have helped Georgia’s case before Congress.

"In the event that any act of Congress is needed, they would have the necessary study to be able to assess the costs and benefits of operating in different ways," says Silliman.

A federal judge ruled Georgia had no rights to use the Lake for Atlanta’s drinking water. He said Georgia and neighboring states should come up with a water-sharing agreement or Atlanta faces a cut-off in 2012. That’s also when the corps will finalize its manual for Lake Lanier.