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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Georgia senators tackle water wars

Camie Young

Camie Young

Georgia’s two senators are putting up their fists in the state’s water wars with Alabama and Florida.

U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss introduced four pieces of legislation last week in an attempt to ensure Georgia’s water needs.

“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, Sen. 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.”

In one bill, the senators are seeking to give the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the ability to includes the effects of current and future water supply in its water control manual for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Fint River Basin, which includes Lake Lanier.

In a press release, the senators said a document without withdrawal information is “useless.”

The second piece of legislation would address Gwinnett’s efforts to return 40 million gallons in treated wastewater to the lake, giving governments who return water credit to draw water for drinking. The third piece would authorize Lake Lanier for the purpose of municipal and industrial water supply, and the final would also give that authorization to Lake Allatoona.

“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,” Chambliss said.

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