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Thursday, January 6, 2011 - 11:24am

Hundreds Oppose Water Transfer Rules

Hundreds of people have spoken against new water transfer rules the state has put out for public comment. Opponents say the wording is too weak.

The state board of natural resources will vote this month on whether to adopt the rules that govern the transfer of water from one river basin to the next.

So far they’ve gotten a couple hundred letters opposing the rules. Napoleon Caldwell who is taking in the public comment at the Department of Natural Resources says the opposition revolves around two points. One that the language says the state SHOULD consider the rules when issuing permits rather than MUST. And the other criticism…the rules don’t apply to older permits.

"The modification to the rule speaks to new inter-basin transfers exclusively," says Caldwell. "It does not speak to those who already have permits and, in effect, allow water to be transferred from one basin to another."

business groups across the state are concerned water transfers upstream from metro- Atlanta could affect downstream communities. Environmentalists worry how transfers will impact the health of impacted rivers and their wildlife.

Public comment closes this Monday.