Lake Martin and Alabama have won a victory in the long running “water war” with Georgia and Florida.
In this press release, Governor Bob Riley calls it “the most consequential legal ruling in the 18 year history of the water war.”
The US Court of Appeals ruled that a “secret settlement” between Georgia, the Corps of Engineers, and Atlanta area water users is illegal under federal law.
What was the “secret settlement?”
It would have allocated about 23% of Lake Lanier for Atlanta’s water supply. Lake Lanier is a federal reservoir.
Why should anyone outside the state of Georgia care what Georgians do with Lake Lanier’s water?
A federal reservoir means it is owned by all tax payers of the US government, not just Georgians. As Riley said in this article: “”It establishes that the decades-old practice of Atlanta taking more and more water from the federal reservoirs in the Coosa and Chattahoochee Rivers without any legal authority to do so will not stand.”
How does this affect Lake Martin’s water level?
If Georgia is forced to take less water out, there is more water flowing into the Coosa system, which means Lake Martin has to put less water out to hold up the level in the Alabama River (which is formed by the Coosa and Tallapoosa).
What does this victory mean for Lake Martin in the larger scope of the water war?
The Guv thinks that this decision could be used to challenge other withdrawals by Georgia communities upstream. More water coming in, and less going out, equals more water for Lake Martin, and a more stable water level. Hoo-yah!!
For related reading, please see all posts that relate to Lake Martin water level: