The Drought in Georgia Posted by: mcq
on Saturday, February 09, 2008
How bad is it? Bad enough that the GA legislature is planning to pass a bill which moves the border with Tennessee 1.1 miles north in order to gain access to the Tennessee river:
Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth) and Rep. Harry Geisinger (R-Roswell) introduced resolutions this week to, in essence, move the state line a mile north, running it right through a bend in the river. Then, the legislators say, Georgia could send billions of gallons of water to parched Atlanta without Tennessee's permission.
Shafer, Geisinger and others say an "erroneous" survey completed in 1818 and never accepted by the state of Georgia placed the border 1.1 miles below what Congress had earlier established as the boundary.
Nearly every Georgia legislator signed on to the resolutions (SR 822 and HR 1206), which direct Gov. Sonny Perdue to remedy the dispute with his Tennessee counterpart.
"While we know that this proposal is not a short-term remedy to our current drought situation, Governor Perdue is open to looking at all options as we plan for Georgia's long-term future needs," Perdue spokesman Bert Brantley said, adding that the governor hasn't scheduled talks with Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen.
Bredesen, busy dealing with the aftermath of this week's deadly tornadoes in his state, couldn't be reached for comment.
The resolutions also seek creation of a boundary line commission, made up of legislators from Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina (which shares a border with both states).
"Most people in the (Tennessee) Legislature understand this is a publicity stunt, but my constituents don't think that," said state Sen. Andy Berke, a Democrat whose district includes Chattanooga and the river. "They don't think this is an appropriate action for the Georgia Legislature to take even if it is in jest."
Shafer said it's no trifling matter. The correct boundary was set by Congress two centuries ago, and the error must be corrected.
Well, it "must be corrected" now mainly, or should I say, only because of the drought and the fact that it would give access to the state of GA.
It is another in a long line of government mismanagement stories. Not the border, but the fact that the problem GA now faces isn't something that blindsided it. We've known we've had the potential of a water shortage - without a drought - for decades. The state has done studies. It has put a plan together to build more and more reservoirs because the growth of the Atlanta MSA demanded it. And there is no rocket science involved here. Trend in growth and water resources available equals future shortage. Yes, the drought has moved it up much more quickly, but the problem is nothing, and I mean nothing, has been done to provide for future needs, drought or no drought. Not the first reservoir, nada.
And now we're reduced to border disputes in order to access water. Wars have been fought over less. It is just absurd to be at this particular point when the probability, not possibility, of water shortages have been known for 30 years.
I live in Alabama and the Corps of Engineers have been allowing Georgia to use water that legally belongs to Alabama. Our view is that Metro Atlanta’s unrestricted growth has failed to provide for the necessary infrastructure to support their population. That situation needs to change now.
As a former state-certified water laboratory owner; industrial water pollution investigator; water researcher with visits to over 15 countries, and current book author and international commentator - the subject of water continues to fascinate and educate me.
The current drought in Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Nevada, Montana, and other states - is due to a confluence of factors. Drought is a natural cycle dependent on influences of El Nino and La Nina, and other factors.
For instance, the recent change in the jet stream is responsible for inundating Texas this past winter while robbing the Southeast of its usual rainfall from the west. As well, the lack of landfall by tropical storms over the past few summers has robbed the Southeast of water from the east.
The Southeast’s drought is not due to so-called "global warming" in the area - because changes of land use and increased silviculture (trees), has actually cooled the region.
However, the impact of human behavior has greatly complicated and compounded water scarcity in all regions of the United States for both human and wildlife usage.
Since drought is a natural part of the cycle - nature, in its evolved wisdom has built in an insurance policy. Through forestation with its deep and living soils, surface and deep root structures, shade, and windbreak and flood protection - nature has created a water storage system unmatched by humankind.
Forests are one of the greatest creations on Earth for recharging both shallow and deep aquifers. Over millions of years, forests and wetlands have evolved to serve life as a virtual reservoir for storing, cleaning and protecting water.
Through development, dams, straightening of rivers, filling and draining of wetlands, pollution, destruction of precious forests - we have actually bankrupted nature’s insurance policy to provide us and other life forms with "survival" water during times of drought.
Now that we are suffering the consequences of our own shortsighted and devolved behavior and management of water - we are in a sense - going crazy with panic. Instead of looking at ways to reestablish nature’s sublime system of storing and cleaning water - we are putting up dams and pumping water from rivers and aquifers to help save ourselves.
This short-sighted behavior will only create further water shortages for future humankind and other life forms, and will hasten the collapse of civilization.