Water wars: Gwinnett to appeal decision

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County has filed a motion to appeal the water wars decision that could leave the county parched.

In a July 17 decision, Florida District Court Judge Paul Magnuson issued a ruling in the decades-long water fight between Alabama, Georgia and Florida that said Gwinnett, among many other Atlanta jurisdictions, may have to stop taking water from Lake Lanier for drinking and fire protection.

The state, along with other area water providers and the Lake Lanier Association, filed an earlier appeal notice, as did the federal government.

"It is imperative that we protect our citizens from this draconian ruling that would jeopardize the public health, public safety and economic well-being of every Gwinnett County resident," Gwinnett Chairman Charles Bannister said. "We cannot simply stand by and hope others solve the severe water resources problem for us, but must take positive action to protect our citizens and our economy.

"Gwinnett continues to support the efforts of Gov. Perdue, the state of Georgia and the other water providers in the region to solve this problem with our neighbors to the west and south. We are optimistic that the three governors can reach agreement on this water use problem and that Congress will pass legislation to solve this matter once and for all."

Gwinnett takes an average of 80 million gallons a day from Lake Lanier and has a withdrawal permit from the state to take up to 150 million gallons a day.

Early next year, officials expect to begin returning treated wastewater back to the lake.