Tri-state water war comes to SW Georgia -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Tri-state water war comes to SW Georgia

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Governor Sonny Perdue is pushing state unity claiming the tri-state water war is more than just an Atlanta problem.

Thursday Perdue said the Flint River will be impacted by the ruling and urged southwest Georgia farmers to start talking with their Congressional representative to help resolve the issue. The state plans to appeal last months ruling that says without Congressional approval, Georgia must stop using Lake Lanier as a water supply for Atlanta.

The Flint River eventually flows into Lake Seminole and across the Woodruff Dam, the very spot Florida is watching to make sure they get their share of water from Georgia. They want a guaranteed flow rate, but a drought in Georgia like we've seen recently can severely impact those amounts. Thursday the Governor said it's sure to impact farmers who use surface water in southwest Georgia for irrigation if the recent federal ruling stands.

It's as clear as the water in the Flint River Governor Sonny Perdue is gearing up for tough negotiations with Florida and Alabama and he wants southwest Georgia on board.

"Our neighbors to the south that's all their interested in and they know that agriculture has a huge target on its back and that's where they can go and increase that flow quicker than anywhere else," said Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.

He cautions that could impact the Flint River, used for crop irrigation.

"The conclusion I heard, these farmers in southwest Georgia that depend on water for their crops understand the Flint will be impacted because the Flint is part of that Chattahoochee River Basin it contributes to that water over the Woodruff dam," said Perdue.

Water Florida is insisting they need to protect endangered species. Alabama also wants guarantees, but today Perdue said he would fight them using a 150 year old ruling that puts the Chattahoochee River in Georgia. Not everyone was convinced Atlanta's done everything it can to protect the resource.

"If you think about stopping water pipes from leaking it makes good sense . If you talk about low flow toilets in a city like the city of Atlanta and low flow plumbing fixtures you're talking about 40 to 42 million gallons a day," said Paul DeLoach, Flint Riverkeepers Inc.

Chairman. The large crowd asked questions about dams along the Flint River to create additional reservoirs and whether the state gets credit for recycling waste water returned to the system. Perdue today stressed Congress re-authorizing Lake Lanier as a water supply for Atlanta is crucial.

"What it's going to take is either congressional intervention or some good hard core negotiations in the best interest of all three states," said Rep. Ed Rynders, (R)-District 152.

"I hope Florida and Alabama will meet with Georgia and the Governor's can work something out. I too don't want us to give up anything but the courts scare me because they won't take anything into consideration," said Bob Hanner.

Governor Perdue has sent 40 dates to the Governor's in Alabama and Florida on which he's willing to sit down and negotiate the water issue with them. He hopes to get word soon on when they might be willing to talk.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson's ruling declared something must be done in the next three years.

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