Power Breakfast: Drought cost Lanier economy, UPS, Delta, AGL, SunTrust, transit, tax deal

Once again, the lesson is driven home: Water is critical to the economy.

Georgia’s drought in 2007-09 severely damaged the economy around Lake Lanier, costing the region millions more than earlier anticipated, AJC staffer Patrick Fox reports.

A 98-page study that took two years to compile and cost $180,000 came out Tuesday, Fox writes. It was commissioned by the non-profit 1071 Coalition and covered Hall, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Dawson and Lumpkin counties, which border the lake and contain the majority of the businesses and properties most dependent upon it.

“When you aggregate all the numbers, the total negative effect, it’s in the $300 million range for one year,” said Alex Laidlaw, 1071 Coalition president. “If the drought was prolonged in any significant way at those levels, we’d probably see that number climb exponentially.”

The report, prepared by Bleakley Advisory Group, PBS&J and Georgia State University economist Dr. Bruce Seaman, said when lake elevations fell to 50-year lows in 2008, commercial activity followed suit, Fox reports.

From 2007 to 2008, annual earnings fell 11.6 percent for commercial marinas on leased land. Annual visits fell by 11 percent, and overnight stays dropped 13 percent, Fox reports.

The drought took its toll on real estate and sales, as well.

Also in the AJC:

In other media:

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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6 comments Add your comment


December 8th, 2010
6:20 am

Hopefully, that’s behind us for a few years or decades. We do like our water recreation.

I don’t like that consumer credit headline. Surely we haven’t started another binge.

Road Scholar

December 8th, 2010
6:40 am

TnG: With no action on legal or storage solutions, I fear not. I goes beyond recreation, like drinking water.


December 8th, 2010
8:26 am

I’m glad we spent $180K on something we can’t control. I’m sure it was all done so the affected counties can apply for aid or to justify raising taxes.

Buzz G

December 8th, 2010
8:55 am

It’s hard to imagine that we live on the edge of the giant lake called Lanier and have no rights to the water in it. While we were suffering sever watering restrictions, the water flowed to Alabama and Florida who had no restrictions what-so-ever. Leave it to our Washington politicians to screw up everything they touch.


December 8th, 2010
9:11 am

In the mid 1980s the local chapter of a professional engineering society volunteered an analysis of metro Atlanta in which they identified the critical issues the city would be facing in the future. It wasn’t rocket science but the group identified “Water” and “Traffic” as the top two issues. Traffic was assumed but the idea of running out of water didn’t catch on with local Chambers, the ARC and other groups who saw the analysis.


December 8th, 2010
6:20 pm

Let it rain!