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Friday, May 28, 2010

Gentle reminder: Clock's ticking on water wars negotiations

click to enlarge Was once a lake, but now a pond...
  • Was once a lake, but now a pond...

In July 2009, a federal judge gave Gov. Sonny Perdue three years to cobble together an agreement with the governors of Alabama and Florida about sharing water from Lake Lanier. It was a long-awaited ultimatum in a nearly 20-year "Water War," over the lake's water, which travels through all three states through several splendid rivers.

If no agreement was reached, the judge said, metro Atlanta would essentially lose its main source of drinking water. And Georgia's long reign as the South's most prosperous state would most likely end. With water comes growth and fortune. Whiskey's for drinkin', water's for fightin' and all that folksy shit.

We'd all go thirsty, riot in the streets, and start drinking from toilets. It'd be like Clockwork Orange, just with Southern accents.

The governors have said they're confident an agreement could be reached. But all three state's chief executives — who keep in mind, are most familiar with the issue — had until the end of this year to finalize such a deal. They're either term limited or running for higher office. So they better act fast.

According to the Rockdale Citizen, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle's chief of staff Bart Gobeil said at the Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce's breakfast pow-wow yesterday that the talks might stall.

From the paper:

The General Assembly passed a water management bill early during the session, and Gobeil said conservation efforts, such as low-flow device installation and leak prevention efforts for local utility water systems, should help.

However, the 2012 deadline set by a federal judge last year for Georgia, Florida and Alabama to settle a dispute over water usage from Lake Lanier in north Georgia looms. Gobeil said talks between the three governors may stall as Perdue and Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist are all leaving office due to term limits or seeking another office.

Sweet. Knowing our luck, next year we'll see John Oxendine and Tim "We speak English here" James bare-knuckle boxing at the state line about who gets more water.

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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