Georgia Again Seeks Water from Nickajack
Reported By: Bill Mitchell from WDEF News12
Georgia lawmakers have renewed their efforts to get access to water from Nickajack Lake.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to seek an agreement with the state of Tennessee to share the Tennessee River water..and settle a border dispute that dates back to 1818.
This proposal is different from the others.
BRAD CARVER, ATTORNEY, GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS "The truth is, the Tennessee river has a billion gallons per day of excess capacity."
Brad Carver is an Atlanta attorney who's working pro-bono on the Georgia/Tennessee border and water dispute.
Twenty four hours after the legislature's last vote on the matter---171 to 2---he was in Dade county pushing the idea that Georgia's north-flowing creeks are putting 1.8 billion gallons of water into the Tennessee River.
BRAD CARVER "Its not about stealing the water from Tennessee or getting something that's not Georgia's...its trying to reclaim some ..we're already putting into the basin."
Georgia's proposal to Tennessee is different this time as regards to historic 35th parallel which it maintains was incorrectly drawn in the 1800's.
BRAD CARVER "What this agreement would do is it would confirm forever more that the 30-thousand people that are in the disputed area would be Tennessee citizens." "And then Georgia would have access to the Tennessee river."
Atlanta is facing a water shortage in 15 to 20 years because Lake Lenier resources must be shared with Florida and Alabama. Tennessee leaders have refused to even discuss it.
Dade county would be the access point, if the legal issues are ever resolved.
TED RUMLEY, CHAIRMAN, DADE COUNTY COMMISSION "We're looking at jobs...many, many, many jobs under the construction part of it you know...and..actually get some revenue for this county."
Rumley says it would take about 5 years after any agreement, to build such a system.
The next move is up to the Tennessee General Assembly.
If there is no negotiated settlement between Tennessee and Georgia, both sides expect it could wind-up in the U.S. Supreme court.