I’m a few days late on this, but it’s good news for our region. A job well done by Governor Perdue and team.
After a week of intense negotiations, Georgia agreed to set aside about 5 percent of the water stored in three federal lakes for threatened and endangered mussels in Florida. Florida agreed to let most of any new rainfall be used to raise the levels of lakes Lanier, West Point and Walter F. George — additional water that can be used for water supply and boaters.
Alabama, which shares the lower half of the Chattahoochee and two of the lakes with Georgia, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns and operates the lakes, also signed on.
State Environmental Protection Division Director Carol Couch said the agreement, which lasts through July 24, is a “good step in the right direction,” to settle the 16-year battle over the Chattahoochee
From Charles Krautler, Director of the Atlanta Regional Commission:
The agreement allows all the Chattahoochee reservoirs — Lanier, West Point, Walter F. George and Seminole — to refill and recover from the recent drought and mistaken releases by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The real opportunity, however, is for the longer term. This short-term agreement is structured to be extended, and it should be. It is a breakthrough because it gives Florida an incentive to partner with Georgia and the Atlanta Regional Commission in urging the corps to manage and protect our water reserves.
Instead of demanding arbitrarily high flows without regard to the status of our water reserves or actual ecological needs, Florida will for the first time have an incentive to balance immediate needs against future demands.
From Governor Perdue:
Last Friday, Governor Perdue announced that Georgia reached a short term agreement with Alabama and Florida that ensures Georgia’s water needs will be met.
“Today we capped Georgia’s exposure and stemmed the tide of excessive water releases from our conservation reservoirs,