Tri-state Water War (con’t)

by Curt Burnett on August 5, 2009

“Florida recognizes that a solution must include equitable sharing of adversity.”

-from a letter sent to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar by Florida Governor Charlie Crist

There’s a great summary of the history of the tri-state water war on the site Waterwebster.com. One of the links there, from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, covers a threat from a state legislator to move the annual Georgia-Florida football game in retaliation for Georgia’s loss in the July 17 court ruling. Now that’s a serious conflict!

Interestingly, this all comes after the drought that severely depleted Lake Lanier has officially ended with a particularly wet season this past spring (although the lake still stands nine feet below normal).

Also interesting is that Governor Sonny Perdue today had a meeting with representatives of other towns downstream of Atlanta, in an effort to form a unified front in the water wars. Georgia cities like Columbus and LaGrange which are farther down the Chattahoochee are concerned that their interests will be overshadowed by those of Atlanta. In some ways their sympathies might be more with those of, say, Florida in receiving the leftovers from Atlanta’s withdrawals.

The battle now moves to Congress. It’s hard to think that Washington DC is the best place to work out complicated water-sharing issues, but that’s how it is at the moment. Reviewing the history of the conflict, you can see that various federal agencies have stepped in at one time or another to try to help settle the war, and it has been in and out of Congress more than once. I think though that until the three parties somehow become motivated to hammer out a workable resolution among themselves there will be little progress.

Maybe it will take another, longer or deeper drought? Like the one in Australia?

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