River advocates oppose Flint reservoir expansion - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

River advocates oppose Flint reservoir expansion

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

December 1, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - After years of drought and water shortages in Atlanta, political interests are proposing building dams and water reservoirs on the Flint River just south of the metro area.

Now environmentalists have formed the Flint Riverkeeper advocacy organization to help fight the reservoir program, to protect water interests for the rest of Georgia south of Atlanta.

Flint River advocates say this beautiful stretch of the Ichawaynochaway Creek could be in danger, if Atlanta interests are successful building and enlarging dams and reservoirs on the Flint River.

 Flint Riverkeeper Chairman of Board Paul DeLoach said "You are going to kill the river. You are going to hurt downstream economic interests. You are going to kill eco system fisheries and habitats for endangered species."

This year Congressmen Lynn Westmoreland and Nathan Deal requested 10 million dollars in federal funding for a study of re authorizing Flint River dams. The Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority in this month's report is expected to propose expanding dams and reservoirs on four tributaries of the Flint River near Thomaston, to supply South Atlanta with water.

Hydrologist Woody Hicks said "Every drop you hold in the northern part of the state, that's a drop that doesn't get to the southern part of the state. As downstreamers, we are worried about the health of our streams. Both in the quantity of waters flowing and the quality."

The Flint Riverkeeper group organized in May, voicing opposition to expansion plans for Flint reservoirs and dams, saying Atlanta political clout should not take precedent over the rest of the state.

 "I think we are all getting to understand what greed and over consumption means in our water resources," DeLoach said.

Flint Riverkeeper says metro Atlanta uses 685 million gallons of water a day now, and that amount is expected to grow.   And recent droughts have shown the danger South Georgia water resources face.

Hicks said- "We've never recorded flows as low as we have seen in past years."

The Flint Riverkeeper group says they are fighting Atlanta developers from sucking out an unfair share of water from the Flint, to keep streams and Rivers vital to South Georgia's future flowing.

The nation's current economic troubles will most likely end any current plans on expanding dams and reservoirs, because the price tag of the project would be close to one billion dollars.

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