Perdue to discuss water wars, state budget

Gov. Sonny Perdue will brief the media and the public this afternoon on the battle over access to the waters of Lake Lanier.

The 3:45 p.m. news conference from his Capitol office will likely follow a conference call between Perdue and the state’s congressional delegation in Washington. A release from the governor’s office said he will also discuss the state budget, but it included no other details.

The state’s entire congressional delegation is expected to gather this afternoon in Washington to discuss how to proceed after a federal judge ruled last week that Georgia has limited rights to use Lake Lanier for its water needs. The judge said that Georgia, Alabama and Florida has three years to find a solution before he turns the figurative spigot off for Georgia.

Perdue and his staff will join the emergency session via conference call, the governor’s spokesman Bert Brantley said Monday evening.

Perdue is “willing to negotiate … but there are the other options as well,” Brantley said. “We don’t want to close any doors … and that includes a state-negotiated agreement or action by Congress or winning on appeal.”

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson issued a ruling in a nearly 20-year-old dispute among the three states that could cut Atlanta’s share of water from the lake – metro Atlanta’s primary water source – to 1970s levels if the states aren’t able to reach a pact within three years.

Magnuson ruled that Congress should ultimately resolve the dispute. But Georgia’s congressional delegation overwhelmingly wants Perdue and the other governors to restart negotiations – in part because taking up the matter in Congress would involve not just three states but all 50. How to get the governors to resume talks is expected to be at the top of the agenda Tuesday.

One comment Add your comment


July 26th, 2009
10:06 pm

Here’s the thing: Florida and Alabama don’t have to agree to anything. Florida throws around more weight in Congress than Georgia. There is NOTHING to indicate that Georgia will prevail in the courts or in Congress. The BEST that Georgia can hope for is enough water to cover current needs/demands. Atlanta metro growth is finished. Until this issue is solved, no new business that requires vast amount of water will move here. Until this issue is solved, all metro construction SHOULD cease until an outcome is determined. To continue development would be irresponsible.

I don’t think anyone believes that the drinking water for three million people will be cut off in three years. But I don’t think anyone should believe that Georgia will get a drop more than is necessary to service the population that is already here.