Drought not so severe in South Georgia

October 30, 2007

Albany--  The debate over Georgia's water resources continues. State leaders worry metro Atlanta's water supply could disappear. They're working to keep Lake Lanier from drying up. Could south Georgia lakes that are part of the same river system also be in danger?  

While many people have to go miles to see the lake, Blanche Clark needs only to step out of her back door. It's where she reads and takes a few pieces of bread to feed the bream.

"I just love it because it's so peaceful," said Clark. It's a peaceful priveledge to live by Lake Chehaw here in South Georgia.

"I just couldn't picture living here without the lake," said Clark, "It would not be the same at all."

But imagine this-- dryness.  It's what people who live by Lake Lanier in North Georgia see these days. "Most of North Georgia is under a level four drought declaration by the EPD," said Masters.

Mark Masters with the Flint River Water Planning and Policy Center says there are a few differences between here and there. "Obviously the biggest difference is population," said Masters.

The population in Atlanta for instance uses about 750 million gallons of water a day. They also rely on the Chattahoochee River for their drinking water. Here in Albany, the Flint doesn't have to be used for drinking purposes.

"We have abundant groundwater resources in Southwest Georgia," said Masters. So since our water supply is more plentiful, could more water from the Flint be sent downstream to protect the Apalachicola River and reduce the amount of water released every day from Lake Lanier?

"In terms of percentage of the total of the Apalachicola, the Flint is a small percentage compared to what the Chattahoochee contributes," said Masters. Masters says it just wouldn't make much of a difference.

Clark does fear though that one day her view of the lake may be different.

"We really don't know how the water situation is going to be so we just have to hope and pray that South Georgia keeps their water supply," said Clark. So she cherishes each moment with the wet resource so many others long to see again.  

Now it is important to point out that we also have problems here. We are on our way to record low river levels. Mark Masters says the best way we can all help out with the problem is not to waste water.

Governor Sonny Perdue is suing the Army Corps of Engineers to reduce the amount of water sent downstream to Alabama and Florida from Lake Lanier. Thursday, he and the governors of those two states will meet in the nation's capitol to try to come up with solutions.

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