29 October 2007


Arguments I've heard:

  • Georgia owns the lake, so the other states can suck it.
  • So much water was released for mussels that they were at flood level while Atlanta suffered restrictions.
  • We should be helping people, not mussels. Damn Endangered Species Act.

From Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

The lake's original and authorized purposes were to provide hydroelectricity and flood control. Since the lake's construction, metro Atlanta has been taking water from the lake to use for municipal drinking water, which was only authorized by Congress as an incidental use secondary to hydroelectricity.

Since the 90's, the Corps of Engineers, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama have all been fighting for use of the water held in Lake Lanier. Law mandates that when a river flows between two or more states, each state has a right to an equal share of the water. Additionally, other laws such as the Endangered Species Act require that water be available for threatened or endangered species that live in or around Chattahoochee River and Apalachicola Bay.

In June 2006 the USACE revealed that the new lake gauge at the dam, replaced in December 2005, was not properly calibrated, yielding a lake level reading nearly two feet (over half a meter) higher than the actual level. Because of this, nearly twenty-two billion U.S gallons (over eighty-two billion liters) of excess water was released over and above the already planned excess releases to support both the successful spawning of gulf sturgeon in the Apalachicola River and to protect several species of mussels in Apalachicola Bay from excessive saltwater intrusion.

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue said that the Corps had created a "manmade drought", because most of the state is already experiencing dry conditions. This came at a time when outdoor water-use restrictions were already being put in place by local governments, because of enormous water use on the many lawns which have replaced the forests in newer suburban areas. Mainly because of this incident at the lake, the state then declared a drought and enacted a ban on outdoor water use from 10AM to 4PM, in addition to the permanent weekly odd/even address system. Other local counties have imposed further restrictions or even total bans, based on each water system's conditions.

So, Georgia doesn't have 100% rights on the lake, the flood release was bad calibration and not excessive species protection, and our whining is based on vanity lawns and not actual need. Everyone's screaming gloom and doom and that somehow we're sacrificing people for mussels. Bullshit. They also like to ignore the nuclear reactor that's downstream. Here's a suggestion: stop wasting so much fucking water, Atlanta. There, problem solved.

[ posted by sstrader on 29 October 2007 at 12:19:43 PM in Politics ]