A publication of Appalachian Voices


A publication of Appalachian Voices


WATER WARS OF THE SOUTH

Georgia, Alabama and Florida have been in court over the Chattahoochee River and the river’s Lake Lanier for decades. Water supply for Atlanta is the upstream issue; enough water for fisheries and shellfish, particularly in the Apalachicola Bay, is the downstream issue for Florida and Alabama. A federal court ruled in July that Congress would have to get involved in negotiating a deal within three years. Environmental attorneys said this was a “resounding wake-up call” for Georgia.

Georgia and Tennessee have been in court over the state boundary line. Apparently the original line was in error by about a mile, and that kept Georgia’s border away from the Tennessee River. In the unlikely event that the 192-year old error were to be corrected, Georgia would be able to draw water from the Tennessee.

North Carolina and South Carolina are in a lawsuit over a 10 million gallon per day transfer of water from the Catawba and Yadkin rivers to the Rocky River basin. North Carolina approved the transfer to accommodate development in the area east of Charlotte.

South Carolina is fending off a suit by the Southern Enviornmental Law Center over re-licensing 13 hydroelectric stations owned by Duke Energy. SELC says Duke’s plan would reduce flows in the Catawba and Wateree rivers to a level “insufficient to maintain water quality and habitat for fish and other species.”

The North Carolina General Assembly is considering a bill creating the Yadkin River Trust, which would allow the state to acquire and operate the river’s dams and recreational lakes rather than Alcoa Power Generating Inc. Alcoa has held federal license to control the river for the past 50 years.

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