Alabama Governor Bob Riley has recently played a huge role in lobbying FERC on behalf of Lake Martin’s water level. He is also Alabama’s most visible representative in the ongoing “Water Wars” – the struggle of Georgia, Florida, and Alabama to determine the future water usage of each state, and how that impacts the other two.
The Guv recently spoke to the Montgomery Lions Club, of which I am a member. He spoke on a variety of topics, then opened the floor for questions. Since I am keenly interested in feeding my children, I asked:
“What is the update on the Water Wars?”
Thankfully, The Guv limited his response to include some examples that affect Lake Martin. Namely he talked about how the recent drought caused Georgia to nearly suck their lakes dry, which of course directly and indirectly affected water flow into Alabama, and therefore Lake Martin.
He made two interesting points that cause me to have hope for Alabama’s (and Lake Martin’s) negotiating positions:
1. Georgia’s reservoirs (like Lake Lanier) were built by the Federal Government. Not a private company (Martin dam was built by Alabama Power) or even the state government. Since federal tax dollars were used to build those dams, don’t they belong just as much to the citizens of Alabama and Florida as the citizens of Georgia?
2. Apparently all of these dam projects must have charters where they state the purpose for building the dam in the first place. In my deliberately cursory and extremely biased review of the COE site, I saw no mention of using the water for watering golf courses in Buckhead, water amusement parks by ATL, or boiling hot dogs at The Varsity. To the contrary, their charters state that among their purposes is to regulate water flow to navigable rivers. True, Lake Lanier and Lake Martin are on two different watersheds. But I think the Guv was trying to point out the inherent responsibility of downstream flow when the Georgia lakes were built.
I realize that this is a huge subject, with points and counter points on all three states’ sides. The above two items hardly encompass the entire argument. I also realize that it is possible that I misunderstood Gov. Riley, however hard I tried not to just hear the good news selectively.
But, I do feel confident that Lake Martin stands a great chance of coming out of this with more than we started with, such as a higher winter water level.
Do any of you out there in Lake Martin readerland have more to add to this topic? Please click “Continue” and then “Leave A Reply.” I am sure that others would benefit from your comments.
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