Monday, March 8, 2010

Water Security

In the summer of 2009, a U.S. District Court told Atlanta that they have until 2012 to resolve water issues with neighbors Florida and Alabama or the city would have their supply of water cut off from Lake Lanier. The lake supplies 3 million Atlanta residents with water, but it is being done illegally. A federally-funded, Corps of Engineers reservoir, Lake Lanier was originally built (in 1956) for hydroelectricity and flood control. As Atlanta's population grew, so did its water demand. It was not made for public water supply. After the drought of 07-09, Alabama and Florida challenged Georgia in court since both states rely on water flowing downstream from the lake. Now Georgia is passing a bill that includes several water conservation policies, such as prohibiting daytime (10-4) outdoor watering and using more efficient devices. If practices such as these are put into place, millions of gallons could be saved, which could lessen the tension between neighboring states.

If problems are not resolved, officials will be rushing to find a new water source for millions of Atlanta residents. Rainwater harvesting on homes and apartments could supply people with water without the massive infrastructure needed to pipe in water from a remote source. It puts the responsibility and ownership of water in the user's hands. This ensures the user has water regardless of what fate may become of Lake Lanier.