Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Begging For Water - Georgia's Drought Crisis

Long gone are the days in Atlanta when your waiter or waitress came to your table with a menu, your silverware, and a glass of ice cold water. You will still get the menu and the silverware, the water however, is by request only.

The restaurant staff has nothing against you; there simply is not enough water for them to carelessly fill glasses if they are unsure the water will actually be consumed.

Why then, is the Army Corps of Engineers saying it will not stop draining from Lake Lanier, Georgia and Alabama’s primary source of water? I’m confused, if we (humans) are in need of water to sustain our day-to-day-living, what possible reason would they have to not slow the drainage? Hmmmm.

My curiosity led me away from local newpaper websites and other local media sites, to the Army Corps of Engineers site. I didn’t want watered down opinionated information, I wanted to know from the source why water would be continued to pump from Lake Lanier at the rate it is normally pumped in non-drought conditions.

I was informed by the ACoE’s website that Lake Lanier is part of a large multi-purpose river basin; water supply, water quality, hydropower, fish and wildlife are all factors that are considered when making decisions regarding the amount of water coming from the lake. The site goes on to say that West Point and Walter F. George lakes south on the river flow have nearly exhausted their water conservation storage.

By now, I am really confused. It seems so clear that there is a sever water shortage. Why would they NOT reduce the amount of water being pumped from the lake?? As I continued to read, I was not prepared for the reason I was about to be given. The flow of water LEAVING Lake Lanier is not being reduced because the water is necessary for the endangered and threatened species in Florida below the Jim Woodruff Dam in the Apalachicola River.

Did I read that correctly? Water must continue to flow so we don’t disturb the endangered species!! WTF! Humans are in danger of loosing their water supply, since when did endangered species become more important than humans?

The citizens of Atlanta find themselves under a strict water ban with the threat of huge fines should they be caught violating the ban, not to mention the nasty stares you will get from your ecology-correct neighbors if they see you watering the lawn, yet the Army Corps of Engineers is pumping 1.9 BILLION gallons of water a day. Those endangered species sure use a lot of water.

At the current rate of water being pumped from Lake Lanier daily, the lake is expected to drop approximately a foot a week. Some Georgia cities are considering taking the water ban a step further to include indoor use of water. The idea of mandatory water rationing that would penalize a homeowner or business for not reducing water usage.

Georgia’s Governor Sonny Perdue has threatened to sue the Army Corps of Engineers and has the support of his congressional constituents. I’m not usually on the same side of an issue as Gov. Purdue, but on this one has caught us both on the same side.

I am outraged that an endangered species means more than a humans need for water, so angry that I think I will go outside, water my lawn, wash my car and just let the water run. I’ll be damned if those endangered species will hog ALL the water!


Cap'n Cruncher said...

lately this country has demonstrated that it views the rights or animals/wildlife to be more important than human life. We treat our pets better than we treat our friends.

Anonymous said...

Georgia's going to have some smelly folks if they can't get water to bathe!

renegade_warrior said...

Y'all supposed to get rain tonight, better get out the pots and pans and catch some extra water!!
Seriously, it's shocking that the Army Corp of Eng would put some wildlife before human life. Just sad.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying its right to release water for wildlife when we are in a crisis, but I also don't think it's right that people are carelessly watering their lawns and washing their cars. We need to act responsible since its us that will be without water.

radical change said...

I'm anxious to see if Perdue will be able to get legislation passed to slow the flow of water leaving GA and going into FL.

Anonymous said...

informative. Hope it all works out well in Georgia

Anonymous said...

It STILL has not rained in Georgia! WTF is going on? Someone angered the god of rain.

Anonymous said...

thanks for keeping us informed.

Velvet Touch said...

It's raining in georgia!

reducing water usage said...

its the worst droughts Georgia has experienced in 100 years. Gov. Sonny Perdue has declared a state of emergency for 85 counties in the northern part of the state that are withering under a stage 4 drought, the worst classification possible. The problem isn't confined to Georgia; neighboring Southeastern states are suffering the consequences of meager rainfall as well. And the prognosis isn't encouraging. Because of a La NiƱa climate pattern that has developed, climatologists expect a warmer and drier winter and spring than normal. "It doesn't bode well," says Pam Knox, an assistant state climatologist and professor at the University of Georgia. "We'll get some rain this winter, but it probably won't be enough. It would take months and months of above-normal rainfall." The situation has become so dire that Perdue held a prayer service on Tuesday to appeal to a higher power for relief. "We've come together here simply for one reason and one reason only: to very reverently and respectfully pray up a storm," the governor told those gathered. (It rained a quarter-inch the following evening.)

Estimates of the remaining water supply for northern Georgia vary from day to day. The level of Lake Lanier, which provides much of the water for the Atlanta metropolitan area, is about nine feet below average, its lowest point since 1982. That means there are as little as 70 to 80 days of water supply left, says Carol Couch, director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

Great post!