News Releases

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Isakson, Chambliss Introduce Legislation to Meet Georgia's Water Needs

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., today introduced four pieces of legislation aimed at ensuring Georgia's water needs will be met as the state continues to negotiate a long-term agreement on how to share water from two river basins that originate in Georgia and flow through Alabama and Florida.

"I will continue to work closely with all stakeholders in Georgia toward a resolution of the longstanding dispute between Alabama, Florida and Georgia over water. It is critical that we reach an agreement that is in the best interest of Georgia while at the same time respecting the interests and concerns of Florida and Alabama," Isakson said. "However, Senator Chambliss and I believe we should work to abide by Judge Magnuson's ruling and do everything in our power to ensure Georgia's water needs will be met."

"It's critical that Georgia, Alabama and Florida come to an agreement on water resources that meets the needs of the three states," said Chambliss. "From a federal standpoint, Senator Isakson and I will continue to explore additional avenues to support the negotiations and make sure Georgia has an adequate supply of water."

The first piece of legislation, S.3910, would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to include the effects of current and future water supply withdrawals from Lake Lanier in the update of the water control manual for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin. Currently, the Corps is not including water supply withdrawals in the long overdue update of the manual for the ACF basin. Isakson and Chambliss believe that a document that doesn't take into account current and future water supply withdrawals from Lake Lanier as well as other points in the system is useless.

The second piece of legislation, S.13, would allow cities and counties who withdraw water from a federal reservoir to subtract the amount of water they return to the reservoir from a wastewater or water supply system from their total withdrawal. Currently, local governments do not receive any credit for the treated water that they return to the reservoir.

The third piece of legislation, S.12, would authorize Lake Lanier for the purpose of municipal and industrial water supply. On July 17, 2009, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson ruled that Georgia must stop withdrawing water in three years from Lake Lanier for the metro Atlanta region's water supply unless it can get permission from Congress to do so. Magnuson's ruling says Lake Lanier wasn't authorized to provide the metro Atlanta region's water supply and that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been illegally reallocating water from Lake Lanier to meet metro Atlanta's water needs.

The fourth piece of legislation, S.3911, would authorize both Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona for the purpose of municipal and industrial water supply.