Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Water related legislation up for a vote tomorrow

Hello Georgia Water Watchers-

Tomorrow is an important day for state legislation that could potentially impact our local water future.  The above video is a discussion between Sally Bethea, Director of Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, a local environmental group, and the Chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee.  They offer different views regarding a couple of the bills up for a vote.

The first, HR 424, wants to create a committee to study withdrawing more water from the Tennessee River Basin in order to serve metro Atlanta's growing water needs.  While Georgia already gets some water from the Tennessee River, around 2.7 million gallons a day, Georgia lawmakers would like to increase the amount Georgia transfers out of the river basin.  It would be interesting to hear what Tennessee and Alabama has to say about this idea.  Is Georgia out to "steal" water - like Los Angeles and the Owens River?  That's an extreme (and not really accurate) comparison, but Atlanta is better off using local resources to their fullest before looking towards expensive, potentially environmentally unfriendly, massive infrastructure projects.

The second bill, SB 122, will allow public/private partnerships in the creation of water infrastructure and reservoirs.  Do we want private business involved in the management of a public resource?  Historically, this hasn't always worked out for the best.  Private companies expect a return on their investment, so often charge more for water than a public utility would while offering poorer service.

Read SB 122 at: http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/displaybill.aspx?BillType=SB&billNum=122

If you would like to make your voice heard about this legislation, use this webpage to find your local representative: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/state/main/?state=GA

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