Opinion: In water wars, Georgia should pivot from Florida to Tennessee

Georgia got great news Tuesday in the long-running “water wars.” A lawyer assigned by the U.S. Supreme Court to make a recommendation in Florida’s lawsuit against Georgia ruled in our favor, saying our neighbors to the south had failed to prove that capping the water Georgia draws from the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers would be effective at solving their problems.

It is possible Florida will now try to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — the lawyer, Ralph Lancaster, noted repeatedly in his recommendation that he could not recommend actions by the Corps because it was not a party to the suit. And there’s a chance, believed to be small, that the Supreme Court would go against his recommendation. But as things stand today, Georgia’s days of playing defense against Florida in the question of how much water should flow south from Lake Lanier all the way down to the Apalachicola Bay appear to be over.

Now it’s time to play offense.

The Tennessee River (AP Photo/Tennessee River Gorge Land Trust)

The Tennessee River (AP Photo/Tennessee River Gorge Land Trust)

As I have mentioned before, Georgia was endangered by an adverse decision regarding Lake Lanier in large part because of a surveyor’s mistake more than 200 years ago. That mistake set Georgia’s border with Tennessee ever so slightly too far south — just far enough that the mighty Tennessee River lies beyond our northernmost edge. It’s a mistake Georgia has sought repeatedly over the past two centuries to correct, without any cooperation from our neighbors to the north. (To read more about this, click here.)

The Tennessee River, at least at the point where it should dip down into Georgia, flows at an extremely high volume. The Tennessee Valley Authority in 2004 found it had excess capacity of 1 billion gallons per day. That’s far more than Georgia would need to help alleviate its water issues. Tapping into it in extreme northwest Georgia in order to help metro Atlanta would be controversial, as it would require an interbasin transfer of water. But it is doable, and it could prove necessary someday.

After Tuesday’s recommendation by Lancaster, it may seem the urgency to do so has lessened. Not so. The time to settle the question of our border with Tennessee, and riparian rights to the Tennessee River, is now, when our backs are not up against the proverbial wall because of litigation with Florida (or Alabama) over the Chattahoochee-Flint. It is worth noting that Lancaster just last month suggested revisiting this idea, which might carry more weight now that he has also ruled in our favor against Florida. And there is plenty of precedent for adjusting state borders due to improved technology; North Carolina and South Carolina recently did so willingly.

If Tennessee won’t agree willingly, Georgia should be ready to ask the Supreme Court to do the job.

Reader Comments 0

75 comments
AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Considering the recent total failures of the CIA, wmd in Iraq and the rise of isis quickly come to mind, I am of the belief that we could easily suffer through their total shut down while we cleanse their ranks of any Deep Staters.


How would we even know that they were out of business?

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

I see that "deep state" is your new concept du jour. you need to get out more. Maybe find a different swamp.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

I already said it, how can a judge usurp the power of the Executive Branch, with no good legal argument, unless he's a member of the Deep State?

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Lithium, IReport. Strong drug, but as a last resort...

Starik
Starik

@Eye wonder Are you qualified to judge the quality of a legal argument?

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Limbaugh thinks they are globalists but I think they are trash rat people that want to impose their distorted faulty thinking upon everyone under the guise of stealing from our country.


No one elected them and no one should live under their control.


Time for a cleansing.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Eye wonder Obviously, being a foreigner, you do not understand the way that the system of governance works in the United States. The People elect their representatives. This President that you call a "fascist" was duly elected, by We the People. You have no options to this but the ballot box, whenever it is that option next comes around.


Unless, of course, you are in favor of a shadow Deep State government that has not been elected by any majority.


Traitor.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

No doubt, ireport. Gotta get rid of Pres Twit and the other fascists in power.

Fact

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

LOL. I'm every bit as much an American as you are. Number one. And number two, your führer will be gone before we the people get back to the ballot box.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

"Deep State"


The end of liberalism.


Complete and total destruction.


Now I know why Kyle has been so silent.



AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

So Dennis Miller, in an appearance on the O'Reilly Factor, suggested that democrats have gone Dr. Strangelove on Russia and now all I can do is sit here laughing. Allow me to say that I totally agree accept for the fact that the democrats lack the civility of the Strangelovians.


"You can't fight in here, this is the war room."


<iframe width="1280" height="720" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UAeqVGP-GPM?ecver=1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

allancame
allancame

Survey where Nickajack Cave goes, if part of it ends up in GA drill down and pump water out. Nickajack Lake flooded the cave and there is the possibility lake water could be under Ga soil.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Geez, you really must feel for Kyle. He was opposed to Donald Trump, so even though the real national news is about a newly elected Trump, administration and the Democrat obstruction he's facing, Kyle, must deflect to other topics. How, can Kyle defend someone he was so opposed to. Meanwhile, having moved out of state my hearts still in Georgia, so I'll still follow Kyle's commentary. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Originating as I do from the Great Plains, where they're lucky to get about half the rainfall that Atlanta metro averages, I continue to think it's bizarre that we can't manage with the resources that we already have, combined with more serious conservation efforts.

And piping/pumping the water over hill and dale like that still sounds pretty nutty.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

Back in the old days, we would have gone to war with Florida and Tenn.


Now things are settled in courts. Good times.

RidgecrestDawg
RidgecrestDawg

@McGarnagle I'm pretty sure that's how Trump or Putin would handle this. The folks in Nickajack Landing would wake up one morning and there'd be a bunch of Georgia National Gardsmen there (in unmarked uniforms)  telling them they have to leave.


Then when the Tenn Volunteers showed up, we'd knock off a few so they'd know we were for real. By the time they came back with more reinforcements the border would have been moved and our guys would be gone. Just nothing but a "no tresspassing - this is Georgia" sign nailed to a tree. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

This is what our liberal friends would call a trickle-down problem.

If all else fails, we could always dam up our four tributaries that feed into the Tennessee River and call it a reclamation of sorts.

TAKE BACK OUR WATER!  

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

"...that the Supreme Court would go against his recommendation..."

How quickly will Mr. Lancaster's recommendation go before the Court, and might a difference in justice configuration (the current sitting eight or future nine assuming Gorsuch confirmation) matter in their final ruling?

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@stogiefogey Not sure what the time frame is. If I understand the track record of these cases correctly, and the precedents on which Lancaster relied, the configuration shouldn't matter. But I guess you never know.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

If we are are going back to original claims, Wouldn't Native Americans actually get ownership of the land?


"Between 1827 and 1831the Georgia legislature extended the state's jurisdiction over Cherokee territory, passed laws purporting to abolish the Cherokees' laws and government, and set in motion a process to seize the Cherokees' lands, divide it into parcels, and offer the parcels in a lottery to white Georgians."

"In 1838 and 1839 U.S. troops, prompted by the state of Georgia, expelled the Cherokee Indians from their ancestral homeland in the Southeast and removed them to the Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma. from their ancestral homeland in the Southeast and removed them to the Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma."

http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/cherokee-removal



Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@AvgGeorgian If we approve commercial casino gambling in Georgia, you can bet (pun intended) the issue of tribal lands will be raised in a big way. Maybe even a yuge way. (Think about it ...)

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

A few readers pointed out that I should have written the border was set too far to the south, not the north. That's of course true; brain freeze on my part. I've corrected it in the text.

RidgecrestDawg
RidgecrestDawg

Hi Kyle!


I agree for the most part. My concern here is which part is dishonest. Is there an alt-right snopes or similar avenue that we can use to fact-check this? 


As it is, we're basically in the "lamestream media" wheelhouse. 

ptcrunner
ptcrunner

Actually agree! If (hypothetically) elected, I would introduce a bill in my 100 days to make this much-needed project happen. You are correct that something needs to be done to alleviate future droughts which will no doubt, happen. In the bill, I would find the best private contractors to tap into the TN and erect reservoirs along the way. Yes, there would be legal battles, but with this recent victory, it looks like the courts would be on GA's side. You are 100 percent correct that there is a surplus off of the TN. 

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

Address the border issue and have Florida pay for a pipeline and pumping station to feed Georgia from the Tennessee River.


The Mexicans cannot afford to pay for it since they are already on the hook for the Great Wall! (sarc!) To pay for the wall, Trump will probably pay advertising space on it!

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Another great water conservation effort would be to cut off the supply of it to cnn's crap manufacturing facility. Who knows how much water they need to hose down at the end of every day.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@AndyManUSA#45

Hypocrisy, thy name is IReport.

Myopia, thy name is YouWhine.

Hypocryopia, thy name is IReportYouWhine.

CoronaGT
CoronaGT

"That mistake set Georgia’s border with Tennessee ever so slightly too far north".


You meant that the surveyor's mistake set Georgia's border with Tennessee too far south, didn't you? If it were set too far north, it would have intersected the Tennessee River.

breckenridge
breckenridge

Send all the illegals back to where they came from and you won't need so much water.

You know that's exactly what Jesus said too.  Or....no wait a minute.....

CNN, the most trusted name in news, is doing a nice job today.

jhgm63
jhgm63

In the meantime, how about some sensible conservation issues? Try planting grasses that need less water in residential areas. Also, improving efficiency in irrigation in agriculture will not only cut back on water use but will also prove to be economically beneficial in the long run.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

Already done. Metro Atlanta has reduced its absolute water consumption -- not per capita; absolute -- even as its population has exploded (I believe the time frame is the past two decades, but I'd have to verify that). No amount of conservation would have satisfied the conditions of the cap Florida sought. Only a dramatic de-population of the region.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

Kinda disappointed that you're focused exclusively on local issues, Kyle, what with all the excitement going on at the national level and the opportunities available to Republicans considering the power they now hold.

But I guess I understand why you're avoiding these issues, considering that the new Republican emperor has no clothes and the current crop of Republican legislators have been exposed as a bunch of power hungry nattering nabobs who care not a whit about these United States.  Sad.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Eye wonder One Trump Derangement Syndrome blog at the ajc isn't enough for you, eyeball?


Sounds like you might be jonesing.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@AndyManUSA#45 @Eye wonder

Nah. Just disappointed. I thought we had a real leader who knew how to get things done. You know, in the style of a great fascist. Turns out, all that President Twit is capable of doing is sending out press releases dressed up as executive orders, filling his cabinet with scum, and tripping all over his untied shoelaces. Sad.

On the plus side, he has helped make SNL great again!

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@Eye wonder @AndyManUSA#45 He can't even get the EO's correct. The ones he signed were suppose to go to the Library of Congress, but the ones posted on the White House website are not worded the same! Incompetent!

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@Kyle_Wingfield @Eye wonder

Hey, I'm all for patience. But promises were made that have now been broken. To say nothing of the fact that there isn't even an inkling of the beginnings of actually trying to make good on what was promised. I know you won't admit this (least of all to me), but things aren't looking good for the Republicans.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Eye wonder "it wasn't supposed to be thus"

It's Feb. 15. Less than a month after the inauguration, and with cabinet confirmations still going on, thanks to Democrats' pointless efforts to delay them. (Send your responses to Harry Reid.) Forgive me for waiting a bit longer before declaring the current administration and Congress ineffective.