A victory that’s a loss
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Apr 19, 2012 | 2602 views |  0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Despite its relative obscurity, the decades-old water war between Alabama and Florida on one side and Georgia on the other is still being waged. As Cindy Lowry, executive director of the Alabama Rivers Alliance, pointed out in a recent Mobile Press-Register column, Georgia may be winning.

The victory — if achieved — will come at the expense of us all.

To supply the apparently insatiable thirst of metro Atlanta, Georgia is making plans for more than a dozen reservoirs, three of which will tap into water in the upper Coosa River Basin, water that flows into east Alabama. Other reservoirs are planned for the Tallapoosa and Tennessee basins, as well as streams that feed the Chattahoochee. The impact on everyone living downstream from these projects should be of concern to politicians who represent those living there.

Despite calls from a host of environmental and economic interests, Alabama legislators have consistently refused to take the first important step that is essential if our water resources are to be protected. They have not passed a comprehensive water-management plan that will identify the state’s water resources and make clear what residents and businesses need.

That could change if the state House of Representatives moves quickly on the recently introduced Alabama Water Sustainability and Security Act (HB674), which would direct the Alabama Office of Water Resources to work with other relevant state agencies and interest groups to develop the long-needed water-management plan.

It’s unfortunate that this effort is coming this late in the session. It will take a Herculean effort on the part of legislators who, to this point, have not shown much inclination to take on Herculean tasks.

This page hopes this bill proves the exception.

Here is an issue that affects not just our region, but towns, communities, farms and factories throughout the state. The Tennessee Valley, the Coosa-Tallapoosa-Alabama River system, the rich Mobile-Tensaw delta, and the Chattahoochee River will all feel the impact of what Georgia is planning. Alabama must have the information in hand so its lawmakers can present and argue its case. This bill starts us toward that goal.

Today, more than half the population of Alabama lives within 50 miles of these rivers. This is not something the state Legislature can afford to ignore. Time is running out.
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