John Linder's water bill passes subcommittee

This week, both state and local leaders have made moves to tackle Georgia's water issues.

Earlier this month, the feds were also in action on it.

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment has given a nod to a bill on water management drafted by U.S. Rep. John Linder, R-Duluth.

"For much of the 20th century, the average American has been blessed with an abundance of fresh, affordable water, available at the turn of a tap.," Linder said. "That scenario is fast being threatened. We have been faced with droughts all over the country in the last several years, leaving lake levels intolerably low and our rivers dry. Furthermore, overzealous groundwater pumping from fresh water aquifers across the nation is leaving aquifers dry or threatened by saltwater intrusion."

Because of projected population growth, those problems won't go away, creating the need for states to "create" more fresh water, Linder said.

His bill, named the "21st Century Water Commission Act," would create a policy for using water more efficiently, capturing more water and reusing it multiple times.

"I'm not a water policy expert, and I do not know what the exact solutions should be. But I am learning, and I have helped the House leadership to focus on this issue," Linder said. "This is not a pork-barrel spending project. It is not a partisan issue. It's a human survival and quality-of-life problem. The stakes are that high, and the choice is ours."

During the two previous sessions of Congress, Linder's bill has passed the House but has not been voted on in the Senate. This year, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson is helping in the effort and the two hope to get the bill passed and before the president for his signature.

By the way, a campaign staffer for Chairman Charles Bannister wanted to point out that Linder deserves the credit for a concept in a Bannister statement in an article earlier this week.

It was from Linder's work on the 21st Century Water Commission bill that Bannister took the idea that: "Trillions of gallons of water fall on Gwinnett every year, we just don't capture it."

Bannister talked about that earlier this week in a press release about the county exploring its options regarding building reservoirs.

TAD veto

Gov. Sonny Perdue vetoed a bill Wednesday to give Snellville residents a vote over redevelopment powers.

But the referendum could still take place.

The veto actually came about because lawmakers passed two bills to give the south Gwinnett city the consideration of tax allocation districts, which passed in nine local cities last year.

Mayor Pro Tem Warren Auld said the city council has not decided whether to hold the optional referendum, as no projects are in mind.

Gwinnett County will hold a referendum in July to consider use of the districts in unincorporated portions of the county, a premise that failed in 2006.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.