Governor-elect Nathan Deal wants the state to focus on building new reservoirs. Deal told lawmakers it should be a priority because a judge’s deadline is looming.
Deal told legislators he’s already met briefly with governors of neighboring states and wants to tackle the tri-state water dispute, but Georgia must take action on building new reservoirs to be prepared.
"I believe that now is the time for us to stop just talking about that and start doing that," says Deal.
Deal acknowledged it would be a costly undertaking. The state faces a potential $2 billion budget shortfall.
Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Sally Bethea says there are more practical solutions.
"New reservoirs are much more expensive than controlling demand through various water saving approaches or modifying existing reservoirs." says Bethea.
She says building a new reservoir can take over a decade to complete and that would never solve Atlanta’s water crisis in time. A federal judge gave Georgia a 2012 deadline to resolve its ongoing battle with neighboring states over Lake Lanier’s water.