Kasim Reed on chasing Tennessee water: ‘The juice would be worth the squeeze’

On WABE (90.1FM) late Thursday, Denis O’Hayer’s interview with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed focused on the city’s sewer sales tax referendum, which comes up for renewal on March 6.

What O’Hayer didn’t broadcast were remarks Reed made about Georgia’s hunger for water. But they’re included in a longer version posted on the radio station’s web site. Reed was first asked about the city’s ability to meet growth with access to water.

Said Reed:

”The city has some unique assets that give us the capability to survive it. We have the most attractive parcel in the [north Georgia] region with regard to a new reservoir in Dawson [County]. So we have the capability to build that reservoir to provide the city of Atlanta and help the region’s need. We also have, in a park that’s not far from here, an ability to build a reservoir that can hold a 30-day water supply for the city of Atlanta.”

O’Hayer then asked Reed about House Speaker David Ralston’s declaration that the state shouldn’t give up on water from the Tennessee River, just beyond Georgia’s disputed northern border. Said the Atlanta mayor:

”I think it’s something that is achievable. I think it depends on the amount of work that you want to put into it, what you’re prepared to put on the table for negotiation. I’m not surprised by Tennessee’s first response, but the fact of the matter is that there are some very strong arguments that could be made that we should have access to that water. Now, you would have to litigate it for some time. But I think the juice would be worth the squeeze.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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37 comments Add your comment

clyde

February 24th, 2012
9:06 am

Strangely enough,the people in Tennessee feel completely different about THEIR water.

Son of a Son of a Son of a Son

February 24th, 2012
9:20 am

Sure, go ahead and get access to the Tennessee River. And then you’ll have TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) looking over your shoulder every five minutes. That new level of government regulation should drive some in the gold dome batty. And as a Tennessee native, I can tell you that Mayor Reed needs to stay out of this. Most in southeast Tennessee view the city of Atlanta as a crime ridden lite version of Los Angeles. A big city Mayor advocating the seizure of Tennessee water will only cause them to buck up against the idea even more.

Realist2

February 24th, 2012
9:22 am

We teach kids not to take things that aren’t theirs. The river is not in Georgia. Georgians have no rights to the water. The Georgia legislature needs to do the job it was elected to do. How about a plan for the future? How about the land set aside by speaker Murphy years ago? Oh, yeah! He built a golf course there.
This has nothing to do with Mayor Reed so he should probably refrain from commenting on the subject.

Check the history

February 24th, 2012
9:35 am

Actually it is in Georgia, or is supposed to be. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a erroneous state border doesn’t change just because it’s been marked improperly for a long time.

Should we use that to force a bunch of people to have their part of the world moved from Tennessee to Georgia? Probably not. Should we use it to negotiate with Tennessee to get access to the water of a massive river? Yes.

Danny O

February 24th, 2012
9:43 am

Wherever you fall on this issue, you gotta admit that’s a great quote from Mayor Reed.

Centrist

February 24th, 2012
9:54 am

When was the last time the Supreme Court moved a state border where either people, property, and water rights were changed? Georgia tried a trial balloon effort and was roundly laughed out of court. Pretending this has any chance whatsoever is a waste of time and some uneducated might even believe it.

BUYING water from TN and building a pipeline might work, but doubt Atlanta has the assets or will to do so. Reservoirs take a long time to build and fill up – talk is all that has been done for decades, and even in a crisis there is nothing being planned. Better hope for either a negotiated settlement or favorable ruling of the Lake Lanier water rights – or expect some drastic rationing. Despite the screams, poor planning by local politicians does not make an emergency on the part of regional politicians.

Realist2

February 24th, 2012
9:55 am

And since it doesn’t change it is in Tennessee. Most of the watershed is also in Tennessee. Tennesseans also pay taxes.

double

February 24th, 2012
9:57 am

I wish AJC would run title on land,and adjoining land that would appreciate due to new reservoir in Dawson county.Show the purchases made by our honest politicians with their advanced information,

Centrist

February 24th, 2012
10:08 am

double posted “title on land,and adjoining land that would appreciate due to new reservoir in Dawson county.Show the purchases made by our honest politicians with their advanced information”

This is a time honored way for politicians to get rich (along with insider stock trading). Herman Talmadge got rich doing it with interstate interchanges that somehow landed where he bought land. But there are currently a lot of Democrats holding land where the “Northern Arc” was being planned until King Roy Barnes and his Democrat cronies lost power.

real john

February 24th, 2012
10:12 am

Son of a Son of a Son….I totally agree. As a native Tenneassean, most do not have a favorable impression of Atlanta. I don’t think most of going to take kindly to Reed stirring things up.

Could get interesting…..

double

February 24th, 2012
10:12 am

I’m sorry centrist,I should have said dishonest democrat politicians.Then I would not have rattled your Centrist chain.

yuzeyurbrane

February 24th, 2012
10:29 am

In long run something must be done. Reservoirs, negotiations with Tennessee, etc. Whatever it takes. Also, 1 geographical/topographical fact not mentioned. Parts of the Tennessee watershed are in Georgia. Tributaries that head north and feed into the Tennessee around Blairsville, Hiawassee, etc. Legally, Georgia can tap with pipeline now with TVA approval. Also, would probably cause lakeside developers and homeowners to scream.

td

February 24th, 2012
10:34 am

real john

February 24th, 2012
10:12 am

Most Georgians do not have a favorable impression of Atlanta.

honested

February 24th, 2012
10:36 am

All this absurd posturing on ‘new reservoirs’ while the geniuses under the Gold Dome take no action whatsoever on improved conservation, priority landscaping using native drought tolerant plants or concentration on infrastructure upgrades.
Could it be that such methods would actually SOLVE the water problem (along with raising Lake Lanier full poll by 2 feet) while the pie-in-the-sky reservoirs put money in contributor (developer, real estate broker, dirt scratcher) pockets?

liberalefty

February 24th, 2012
10:37 am

td

most atlantans dont have a favorable view of jawja…go figger

Centrist

February 24th, 2012
10:38 am

@ double – there are just as many “dishonest” Republicans now cashing in – it is what politicians of BOTH parties do.

Here are items that are being mostly ignored by the MSM since it doesn’t fit their bias:

Two new polls in the showdown state of Michigan suggest that Rick Santorum failed to gain badly needed shot of momentum in Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate.

Romney now holds a three-point edge over Santorum in a Mitchell/Rosetta Stone poll, and a six-point advantage in the most current Rasmussen poll. Romney holds much wider leads in Arizona.

While I don’t hold any stock in general election pairings prior to September in an election year – I’ve noticed some posters here do:

USA Today/Gallup poll Feb 16 – 19

Romney is slightly ahead of Obama, 50% to 46%, while Obama edges Santorum, 49% to 48%.

td

February 24th, 2012
10:39 am

Instead of more court battles and water wars, Metro Atlanta citizens and the political leaders are going to have to realize that we have reached of limit for growth. Plans need to be made to start concentrating on other areas of the state for growth.

DannyX

February 24th, 2012
10:39 am

“Most Georgians do not have a favorable impression of Atlanta.”

Except when it comes time to gobble up Atlanta tax dollars, hypocrites.

honested

February 24th, 2012
10:39 am

centrist,

One can only hope the ‘land’ of which you speak will become a giant wilderness area and prevent both the stupid northern arc and the stupid and unnecessary reservoir from ever occurring.

Ga Values...Ron Paul for Peace & Prosperity

February 24th, 2012
10:42 am

Kasim Reed never passes a chance to skim for his friends, just look at the airport, belt line, MARTA, the Housing authority & now a new water project. Reed makes Bill Cambell look homest.

H2O

February 24th, 2012
10:44 am

The Georgia legislature has already passed a nullification bill. Georgia can now do anything they want inside of the state’s boundries. As yuzeyurbrane stated, several Georgia streams are in the Tennessee River watershed, and many of them are just a short distance from watersheds that flow into Georgia. For example, the Toccoa River is in close proximity to the Ellijay River, and a very short pipeline can connect the two.

liberalefty

February 24th, 2012
10:44 am

both of JIM’S articles are kind of boring today…water rights and solar energy doesnt get the partisan blood boiling…sorry

Real Athens

February 24th, 2012
10:46 am

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Georgia had a population of 9,687,653. The Atlanta metropolitan areas population in 2010 was 5,268,860, or 53.6% of Georgia’s total.

He said, she said.

DannyX

February 24th, 2012
10:48 am

“Romney is slightly ahead of Obama, 50% to 46%”

You are all over the place “Centrist.” Just yesterday you brought up the Intrade website, convinced that it was the most accurate election indicator because it was brain over heart. That website gives Obama a 59.9% percent chance at re-election. You sure dropped your philosophy on that fast.

Which is it?

Hillbilly D

February 24th, 2012
10:52 am

Looks like the powers that be haven’t learned a thing. Georgia is already in a lawsuit with Alabama and Florida. Try to take water from the Tennessee River and you can add Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky to the parade. On the off-chance that the lawsuit came out in Atlanta’s favor, after many years and millions of dollars, then you still have to build a pipeline and pump stations, to get the water up over the mountains (the Tennessee River is on the other side of the divide from Atlanta) and to Atlanta. That would be more millions if it didn’t hit the billion range.

As for raising the level of Lake Lanier 2 feet, that sounds good but hasn’t been thought out. While this would be good at full pool, when the lake is down 10-15 feet, which it often is for extended periods during time of drought, the full pool level is irrelevant.

Atlanta is experiencing seeing the chickens come home to roost for 40-50 years of wide open development with no planning. The area is built out and they have to learn to base the economy on something other than perpetual expansion.

DannyX

February 24th, 2012
10:54 am

“Plans need to be made to start concentrating on other areas of the state for growth.”

Plan all you want. Crazy Georgia Republican politics will not allow real growth in most other parts of the state. Nullification, Tanya Ditty Sharia Law, crazy gun bills, birther madness, etc, etc, etc,etc,etc.

Crazy, crazy, crazy Georgia is the laughingstock of the country.

Hillbilly D

February 24th, 2012
10:56 am

double @ 9:57

Go to gaassessors(dot)com and you can run your own search on who owns the land, unless the purchase is very recent (probably within the last year or so).

Dirty Dawg

February 24th, 2012
10:58 am

Tennessee has become, or maybe always has been a pretty damn selfish bunch. I’m still pi$$ed that they required Nissan, or was it VW, or maybe both, to hire only Tennesseans for the new plant they built near Chattanooga – Plus I’m still calling for a boycot of VW dealers here, by the way – with the comment about them not liking Atlanta it only shows that they’re just as racist – what other reason would it be, they don’t like having to fight the traffic on their way to Walt Disney World? – as Cobb and Gwinnett. I say lets ’slant drill’ and just start sucking water out of that river from the bottom…they’ll never miss it.

Hillbilly D

February 24th, 2012
11:11 am

Dirty Dawg

Why shouldn’t Tennessee require that jobs that their tax money paid for go to Tennesseans? Look at all the Georgia tax money that Sonny paid for the Kia plant there and a sizeable number of those jobs went to Alabamans. Sounds like Tennessee is smarter than Sonny, to me.

honested

February 24th, 2012
11:21 am

Hillbilly,

It’s probably a sure bet that most things in the universe are smarter than Sonny.

And, not to let raising the full pool lake level go, 2 feet at full pool is A LOT OF WATER. Doing so adds quite a cushion as the lake drops during periods of limited rainfall. Cut the demand (through the same entirely functional conservation methods that already work in civilized areas) and more water is available and sooner than building any reservoirs. But it doesn’t pad the pockets of the builders, developers, dirt scratchers and real estate agents.

td

February 24th, 2012
12:01 pm

DannyX

February 24th, 2012
10:54 am

For being such a laughing stock it is not turning people away from moving here in droves. What else can we do to stop the tidal wave?

DannyX

February 24th, 2012
12:13 pm

“For being such a laughing stock it is not turning people away from moving here in droves.”

Yes people are moving to metro Atlanta, NOT other parts of the state. You said it, “Plans need to be made to start concentrating on other areas of the state for growth.”

Dirty Dawg

February 24th, 2012
12:49 pm

Hillbilly…you’re right. So let’s see if we can get the Georgia Legislature to levy a toll on any car with a Tennessee license, traveling on Georgia taxpayer-paid roads…say about $10 a throw. Tell us hill-boy, would that be ’smart’? It would all be a violation of ICC rules…just like the requirement to restrict hiring…get it?

spectator

February 24th, 2012
1:11 pm

Well boys, from what I’m reading, Hillbilly has done some work from the shoulders …up
whilst most the rest of em are having a hard time keeping their knuckles from dragging the concrete!
git it?

JamesCamak

February 24th, 2012
5:28 pm

Sorry for screwing the pooch on this one.

CobbGOPer

February 24th, 2012
5:39 pm

@Centrist:

As recently as 1999, when the Supreme Court ruled that parts of Ellis Island actually belonged to New Jersey and not New York, and as such those parts are now officially sovereign New Jersey territory under the jurisdiction of the NJ state government.

CobbGOPer

February 24th, 2012
5:43 pm

In other words, we can certainly take Tennessee to court with a reasonable expectation of victory. It’s well established fact that the border is not where it legally should be.