Legislator blames ‘special interests’ for water shortage.

If only we had forced people to have low flow shower heads and toilets we’d be swimming in water. Why not just mandate that people can only take showers once a week? That would save water.

Besides attacking the metro water district, speakers at Wednesday’s news conference also criticized Georgia’s political leaders for not doing enough to foster water conservation.

Rep. Brian Thomas, D-Lilburn, said the influence of “special interests” – specifically, the real estate industry – in 2004 quashed legislation that would have required homeowners to install low-flow plumbing fixtures before they could sell their properties.

“Our leaders have caved in to those interests,” he said.

Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, the bill’s chief sponsor, said recently that she plans to reintroduce it during this winter’s legislative session.

The main purpose of the press conference was to challenge Gov. Perdue:

ATLANTA – Poor planning by state and regional decision makers is as much to blame for the critical water shortage gripping North Georgia as Mother Nature or the federal government, environmental advocates charged Wednesday.

The Georgia Water Coalition, an alliance of 150 organizations, challenged recent statements by Gov. Sonny Perdue and others that mandatory limits on water use have been forced upon the region because of the drought and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ massive releases of water from depleted Lake Lanier to protect endangered fish downstream in Florida.

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19 comments

  1. Holly says:

    I think there’s a bigger problem in that county governments are doing well with planning. Aren’t Newton County and Henry County having school issues, too? It would seem to me that the counties could set up zones that would be either off-limits to new developments or that would require higher permit costs until the school / water / whatever else issues could be stablized, no?

  2. Nicki says:

    That’s not a bad idea.

    On lo-flo stuff…people just don’t think about the impact of their desisions when they buy stuff like plumbing fixtures. They think “hey, this’ll look great in my bath,” not “hey, this thing uses 300 gallons every 10 minutes. ” So I’m afraid that legislation is the only way to affect that.

  3. Chris says:

    Oooh. Good idea. Lets use the heavy boot-on-your-neck of government to screw over the homeowners of Georgia to solve the problem cause by the frigtards under the Gold Dome and in Congress.

  4. Doug Deal says:

    Does anyone have an stats on water used from Lanke Lanier. I have been looking for data on the amount used by category. I.e. how much goes to industrial, indoor household, landscaping irrigation, and agricultural, and how much gets sent down the river by the ACoE.

    By total water usage from all sources in the state, agriculture is about half, but I assume that much of that is well water, and not “surface water”, if that is what it is called.

  5. Chris says:

    Doug,

    My understanding is that well water isn’t used down here because all the red-clay creates an impermeable barrier to refilling wells.

  6. Doug Deal says:

    Chris,

    Then does ag in Georgia draw it’s water from river water and resevoirs such as Lanier? If so, household water is a tiny tiny fraction of the water consumed, and any of these feeble gestures would amount in zero effect in the end.

  7. TM2000 says:

    This drought should serve as a wakeup call. I think some counties are starting to get the message.
    Has the price of water risen at all this year? Why are there not supply and demand issues in effect here?
    Wake up people!

  8. Bill Simon says:

    Not to talk about gross things, but the problem with lo-flow toilets is that it may take many more flushes to get all the sh*t down that would be pushed out in one flush with one of those “SUV” water hog toilets.

  9. gatormathis says:

    I have an uncle who is retired from the City of Atlanta. Recently while visiting, he said Atlanta got all of its water from resevoirs.

    He said the city had no deep wells to supply water, and if it did, he didn’t know where any were located.

    So I’m curious, does anyone know whether this is true or not. A city without a well????????? I guess there are probably others.

  10. gatormathis says:

    So………….the legislature will regulate the use of toilets, spigots, washing machines, and other water consumption gluttons.

    That’s cool, save enough water with the low flow contraptions so that you will be able to effectively use your swimming pool, hot tub, goldfish pond, water fountain, and other necessities.

    Bro Bill, suggest to the masses the installation next to the toilet of a very small boat oar. This can be used to “chop-up” the occasional “you-tube” monstrosities emitted, and will possibly enable flushing by even the lowest flow toilets available on the market today.

    One also has to wonder if the law will be changed to benefeit the Atlanta owned Home Depot, as surely it will begin to sell water saving devices immediately after the enacted law.

    Ahhhh………..a goldmine around every corner.

  11. jsm says:

    Bill, there are low-flow toilets out there that flush well. They’re just not the cheap builder-grade ones selling like h0tcakes over at your local Home Depot.

    This is where I disagree with Doug Deal and a few others about a lack of market forces promoting low-flow fixtures. I support a law requiring installation of low-flow plumbing fixtures in new construction and renovation projects. The freedom would still exist to change out shower heads or whatever by an owner, and the higher flow fixtures would become less desirable to the consumer as demand dropped. 1.6 gallon per flush toilets are already required by the International Plumbing Code, Florida Plumbing Code, and most others, and a savvy buyer can negotiate with a builder to get a little better performing toilet. The cost difference is minute considering the selling price of a home.

    A review of several low flow toilets:
    http://www.terrylove.com/crtoilet.htm

  12. Doug Deal says:

    jsm,

    So, let me know when the government posts its list of food items that I am allowed to consume and when. We wouldn’t want me to eat too many bananas out of season and cause a shortage, instead of letting price dictate my behavior.

    Invasive personal nanny state solutions are incompatible with freedom. If economics can handle the “problem” (I use quotes because it is only a problem because government has stepped in to create a subsidy that encourages wasteful use of a limited resource) why not use that method instead of tinkering with a system to the point of altering people’s bathroom habits.

    In any event, I have no problem with having a lo-flo toilet in my house. But certain other water fixtures are complete crap at every level and significantly lower quality of life. Bathing is a very personal issue, and just because you think you know what is best for everyone else, perhaps it might be better to allow other people to have their own opinion.

    If you ever make a comment about keeping government out of one of your own personal areas of interest, it will only reveal you as a huge hypocrite.

    Allowing the cost of a “scarce” resource to fluctuate with supply allows people to make their own priorities about THEIR OWN comfort and life, and is one of the most basic freedoms. If prices of water were commiserate of the true cost of the resource, conservation would be a natural extension of that. It would also save us from having the need for people who are overly involved in the bathroom habits of others.

  13. jsm says:

    Doug, you’re exaggeration skills are second to none.

    First, current law and Drenner’s recent proposal do not deny you the freedom to install whatever plumbing fixtures you want in your own house. I don’t support anyone messing with your bathroom habits. However, some people may be just as happy with low-flow fixtures if a contractor were to install them. If so, great–we save water. If not, great–replace them with something you like. People replace fixtures all the time for purely aesthetic reasons, anyway. Requiring contractors to install low-flow fixtures helps the oblivious consumer and the rest of us.

    Second, fresh water is a finite resource, unless you have a spare desalination plant lying around. I can plant a banana tree if I want bananas, but I can’t grow water.

    Third, my “subsidized” water bill is about $10 a month. Go ahead. Double it. Triple it. I don’t care. That’s not going to affect me much. Farmers are the ones that would be affected, and I have always been against farm subsidies.

    BTW, how much has the rising cost of gasoline affected your driving habits?

    Try to see the forest.

  14. Doug Deal says:

    jsm,

    You must be in college, fresh out of college or at least not in a situation where you have a family. But, do you realize that there are more people in the USA who chose to not have cable television that have cable television because of the cost? I am a software developer and my wife is a prosecutor, and she is not entirely keen on the idea of spending 90 a month for bundled cable and internet.

    Do you realize that there are plenty of people who do not get beverages with meals in restaurants because they do not want to spend $2 for sugar water?

    I make a very good salary, but I still do not take long trips in the car as often because of the cost of gas. Driving to Atlanta from Macon round trip is 180 miles. That

  15. jsm says:

    Doug,

    I don’t have a family, but I’ve been out of college for almost ten years now. I order water at restaurants, and I get expanded basic cable for about $50 a month. Many blue-collar workers make just as much as I do or more. However, I drive 85 miles/day round trip to work. Why? Because I like living where it’s quiet, although no engineering jobs are available nearby. I know–that’s my choice, but my point about gasoline is that most people have the same drive to work, or at least similar, that they had 4 years ago.

    Just so you can see it, here’s the ‘forest’ – National statistics for gasoline demand:
    http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/oog/info/twip/twip_gasoline.html
    Scroll to the bottom.

    What does this have to do with this thread, anyway?

  16. Doug Deal says:

    What does this have to do with this thread, anyway?

    You are the one that brought up gas. Total consumption of gas is a silly comparison, since most gas consumed is consumed for neccessities and is generally required to be used to earn money. Flushing the toilet doesn’t take you to work and keeping the water running while you brush your teeth doesn’t bring you home. Gasoline is a not wasted to the same degree that water is.

    The thing to compare is voluntary trips (a small portion of the general usage). Show me data on how many people are curtailing holiday travel, and other out of town pleasure trips.

    Water, on the other hand people think of as free. When the cost is raised, and they get a $100 water bill, instead of a $50, more people are going to notice than don’t. They will stop watering their lawns, and magically the problem will be fixed.

    It takes about $6 of water to irrigate a 1/4 acre of lawn to a depth of a 1/2 inch of water. Do this once a week, and your bill is about $25.

    Triple your water bill, and that’s $50 extra a month on top of personal water consumption charges. If things really get more severe, make it 10 times. Most people aren’t going to pay $250 a month to water their lawn, but if they do, so be it, the state can use the extra money to build more resevoirs, pay someone to pipe in desalinated water or pump it from another resevoir.

  17. jsm says:

    I mentioned gas in one sentence because it and water are both necessary in this society. Market forces have limited effects on necessity items.

  18. StevePerkins says:

    For the most part, Georgia agriculture does not depend on surface water from Lake Lanier. Most areas of the state do have access to underground well-drawn water (there are even wells running in outer Gwinnett).

    However, the reason why so many things in Atlanta are named “Piedmont” is because the city sits on top of the piedmont geological region. This area is made up of thick red clay sitting on top of granite bedrock, making the existence of groundwater impossible.

    Geologically speaking… we unfortunately are in competition with Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New Orleans for “Dumbest Possible Location to Build a Major Metropolitan City”.

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