First, the good: The three states involved in the longstanding regional rivers dispute will try again to negotiate some kind of agreement. The governors of Alabama, Florida and Georgia are scheduled to meet next Tuesday in Montgomery to restart water talks that have dried up so many times before.
Bert Brantley, spokesman for Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, noted that it would be “ambitious” to expect the governors to reach an immediate agreement. That’s no doubt an accurate and realistic assessment. But Govs. Bob Riley of Alabama and Charlie Crist of Florida had better not assume they can be too leisurely about the process, because the clock is ticking fast on another deadline Georgia has set on its own.
Which brings us to the bad: Georgia’s Water Contingency Task Force, convened just two months ago, is reported to be preparing to make its final recommendations before the Georgia General Assembly convenes
Among the alternatives it is reported to be considering is “interbasin transfers” — moving water from one river basin to another, a practice prohibited by 2001 legislation. The issue resurfaced in 2003, but was quashed by opposition from, among others, the cities of Columbus and LaGrange.
Hanging over all this, of course, is a federal judge’s recent ruling that Lake Lanier was not impounded for the purpose of providing metro Atlanta’s water supply, and that the metro water planning district has until 2012 to find other sources of water or get Congress to reauthorize withdrawals from Lanier.Spotted here