Thursday, October 25, 2007
Are we shooting ourselves on the foot? Are we prepare for crisis. We have recently Katrina Crisis, California Wildfire crisis and know Georgia suffering the worst case drought scenario. They do not have a real back up plan for the 90 days supply of water.
Officials Have No Backup For Worst Case Drought Scenario.
ATLANTA -- With the South in the grip of an epic drought and its largest city holding less than a 90-day supply of water, officials are scrambling to deal with the worst-case scenario: What if Atlanta's faucets really do go dry?
So far, no real backup exists. And there are no quick fixes among suggested solutions, which include piping water in from rivers in neighboring states, building more regional reservoirs, setting up a statewide recycling system or even desalinating water from the Atlantic Ocean.
The owner of an Atlanta landscaping business, Ray Wiedman, said, "It's amazing that things have come to this. Everybody knew the growth was coming. We haven't had a plan for all the people coming here?"
Governor Perdue seems to be pinning his hopes on a two-pronged approach: urging water conservation and reducing water flowing out of federally controlled lakes.
Perdue's office today asked a federal judge in Florida to force the Army Corps of Engineers to curb the amount of water draining from Georgia reservoirs into Alabama and Florida. And Georgia's environmental protection director is drafting proposals for more water restrictions.
But that may not be enough to stave off the water crisis. More than a quarter of the Southeast is covered by an "exceptional" drought -- the National Weather Service's worst drought category. Georgia is smack in the middle of the affected area, which extends like a dark cloud over most of Tennessee, Alabama and the northern half of Georgia, as well as parts of North and South Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia.
Lawsuit Filed; Governor May Ask President For Water Help
The state filed the lawsuit Friday trying to force the Corps of Engineers to restrict downstream water releases. Governor Perdue is planning a news conference Saturday at Lake Lanier.
Channel 2 Action News has learned Governor Sonny Perdue may ask President Bush to declare a State of Emergency.
Press Secretary Heather Teilhet told Channel 2 the governor is preparing to see if it is feasible to ask the president to declare a State of Emergency because of the lingering drought and the dramatic drop-off in Georgia reservoirs up and down the Chattahoochee River.
The governor -- on a trade mission to Asia -- was not available by phone to talk to reporters about the growing water dispute -- he is expected to speak Saturday morning. His office announced Wednesday that a lawsuit challenging the Corps of Engineers’ releases of water from Lake Lanier would be filed no later than the end of the day Friday. The governor's press secretary said the governor is taking steps toward a possible request that President Bush declare a State of Emergency because of the dire conditions in Lake Lanier and other Georgia reservoirs.
A fellow Republican, who is Chairman of the Cobb County Commission and the Atlanta Regional Commission, told Channel 2’s Sally Sears more litigation is not the answer.
“We need to force the issue publicly, encourage the president to jump in. He's been very quiet on this issue. He needs to get engaged in this issue, and say ‘Gentlemen, we need to do what's best for our residents,’ said Sam Olens.
With the governor's parking space at the capitol empty as the stand-off intensified this week, some critics took their shots.
“We should hold our elected officials and our policy-makers accountable for not planning this better and taking proactive actions,” said former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes