Going Postal 

Let them drink permits
During a recent visit to Atlanta my son obtained [a copy of] the June 24 issue of Creative Loafing. The article, "What Drought?" by Ken Edelstein, addressed two important issues. One, that the amount of direct withdrawal by individuals and/or business property owners adjacent to and along the river is unknown but could be significant during drought. Two, the technology exists to reuse wastewater at individual locations but there is only limited application of this technology.

My reaction to the article is that they are both consumptive uses. Consumptive use is one of the main uncertain issues in the Water Wars. The volume or quantity of water in the river is pretty well understood and could probably be resolved by the negotiators if the downstream users had confidence that upstream users could be counted on to perform in relation to the relatively available water resource. As far as I'm concerned, the only way to be certain of that is for all water used to be metered, both withdrawals and returns, through permitted systems.

If Georgia EPD and the metro area counties allow the proliferation of unknown amounts of consumptive uses then those of us downstream who depend on good management of the river cannot have confidence that this critical water resource is being equitably shared.

-- Billy G. Turner, President Columbus Water Works

Not-so-hot Democratic party
Responding to Tom Houck's July 8 column "'Hot' Elections: July Primaries Guarantee Low Turnout, Unfit Candidates": It is difficult to believe that you could write a column about Georgia's ludicrous July primary without ever mentioning the chief reason why we have the system we do and who could have changed it whenever they felt like doing so. We have this system because of your beloved Democratic party and, if the party wanted to, it could change it.

The Democratic party has controlled the governorship and Legislature for more than 125 years. In recent years they have changed the election procedures when it was to their advantage even when there was been no great public outcry for any such "reform." For example, they made straight-party voting more difficult, they lowered the percentage of the vote needed for election to the U.S. Senate after 1992, and they changed the way Public Service Commissioners are elected from statewide to districts.

Tom, perhaps you could publicly ask Gov. Barnes, Lt. Gov. Taylor, Speaker Murphy, and other Democratic leaders why changing the primary from July has never been part of their political agenda?

-- Paul G. Sherer, Dunwoody


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