Tue., March 22, 2011 5:41pm (EDT)

Lawmakers Eye Tennessee River For Ga. Water Supply
By Jeanne Bonner
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Georgia is considering all options in an effort to increase its water supply. (Photo courtesy of Mike Gonzalez)
Georgia is considering all options in an effort to increase its water supply. (Photo courtesy of Mike Gonzalez)
The Senate passed a resolution Tuesday to study whether the state can draw water from the Tennessee River's Georgia tributaries. It could help solve the state’s water supply problem.

State Senator Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga says every time he pours a glass of water off his porch, it ends up in the Tennessee River.

That’s because the nearby West Chickamauga Creek flows into the Tennessee. Combined with other creeks, the flow of these tributaries could amount to 130 million gallons of water per day for most of the year.

“We believe that six percent of the Tennessee River comes out of Georgia," he said. "Let's document it for further discussion.”

When asked if Tennessee might object, Mullis said, "I don't want Tennessee's water. I want Georgia's water."

A separate issue is whether state officials incorrectly drew the boundary between Georgia and Tennessee in the 1800s. If that’s the case, the Tennessee River flows through a part of Georgia.

Finding other water sources is critical because the state could lose access to Lake Lanier next year. Florida and Alabama successfully argued in federal court that Georgia takes too much water from the federal reservoir.

A state task force formed to find new water sources met for the first time Monday. Gov. Nathan Deal created the task force in January in part because he thinks new state reservoirs could be one solution to the water crisis.