Water-saving measures should prove we’re serious about self-help. That may aid Georgia’s cause in the courtroom. Conservation moves should also benefit us in negotiating rooms where teams from Georgia, Florida and Alabama are reportedly still seeking an agreement.
Given the unfortunate secrecy surrounding these talks, who knows what, if any, progress is being made. What is evident is that we need results soon.
The July 17 anniversary of U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson’s ruling on use of water from Lake Lanier is one of several noteworthy dates approaching. All warrant our sincere attention, given the press of time.
One wild card at this point is a ruling expected soon on Georgia’s court challenge to Magnuson’s order. It could come any day, or week, now.
It’s somewhat expected that the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will unwind at least part of Magnuson’s finding that Lake Lanier is not expressly authorized for use in meeting Atlanta’s water needs.
That belief seems logical, at least from this region’s viewpoint. It’s not something we can bank on, however. Let’s remember that Magnuson’s ruling came as a shock to many and fueled a frantic public-private push for water solutions.
Legal uncertainties mean it’s still important to reach a deal soon with Alabama and, hopefully, Florida.
We also need to agree soon on best-practice options to capture and conserve more of the water that passes through Georgia. One good step would be earmarking for conservation work part of the $300 million budgeted by Deal to jump-start water projects.
These and other efforts must happen quickly to ensure Georgia’s future. We have no other choice.
Andre Jackson, for the Editorial Board
Atlanta Forward: We look at major issues Atlanta must address in order to move forward as the economy recovers.
Look for the designation “Atlanta Forward,” which will identify these discussions.