Wed., February 9, 2011 1:42pm (EST)

Alabama Concerned over Georgia Water Decisions
By Melissa Stiers
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Lake Lanier provides water for millions of metro Atlantans. (Gregory Skibinski)
Lake Lanier provides water for millions of metro Atlantans. (Gregory Skibinski)
Alabama officials have expressed concern over Georgia’s push for reservoirs and its regulation of water transfers.

The Department of Natural Resources board recently adopted rules regulating the transfer of water from one river to the next.

The state of Alabama wasn’t only watching the vote, but it also encouraged the board to strengthen the rules.

The DNR board wasn't aware Alabama officials wrote a letter during the public comment period. It said the rules won’t protect downstream communities including itself from future transfers because the language doesn’t require regulators to evaluate impacts, it just encourages them to.

Governor Deal says he’s aware of the letter, but doesn’t think Alabama’s opinion on the rules or its opposition to his push for reservoirs will affect upcoming water negotiations.

"The ultimate bottom line is that there is going to be some form of agreement that relates to a guaranteed water flow at the state line, so therefore if we can satisfy that requirement, then the internal activities of Georgia will not have that severe of an impact."

A federal ruling requires Georgia to reach a water sharing agreement with Alabama and Florida in order to secure Lake Lanier as a drinking water source for Atlanta.