Rob Pavey blogs green issues and the outdoors life

Getting along on the playground: can Georgia and South Carolina share the Savannah River?

The 350-mile-long Savannah River is owned and managed jointly by Georgia and South Carolina. But what happens when the two sides can't agree? Coming Sunday, The Augusta Chronicle will explore what could become a new generation of water wars.

Does history repeat itself?


A century and a half ago, South Carolina famously fired the first shots of the Civil War.


Earlier this week, the Palmetto State's Legislature launched what could become the opening salvo in a different sort of clash - over sharing the Savannah River with neighboring Georgia.


The 350-mile channel is more than a state boundary. It is used for drinking water, sewage dilution, recreation, hydropower - even nuclear power production. It also harbors some of the region's most sensitive ecosystems, including a 6,000-acre National Wildlife Refuge near the coast.


Most importantly, it is a shared resource jointly owned and managed by two states.


For decades, Georgia's exploitation of the waterway has far outstripped South Carolina's. Both states have committees that meet and communicate in hopes of warding off future controversy over sharing the Savannah.


So far, it has been mostly amicable. But the horizon is changing fast.


Now Georgia plans to dredge 26 miles of the river during a $600 million expansion of Savannah Harbor. If successful, the project will bring economic benefits to Georgia.


South Carolina, which is planning an expansion of its competing port in Charleston, is taking steps to block Georgia's project.


It's not just competition and economics, though. Also at stake is the environmental quality of coastal estuaries, the river's ability to assimilate waste and the fate of communities that rely on the river for drinking water and future development.


If you're interested in these issues, and how they will affect Augusta, you might enjoy our stories coming Sunday.


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paulwheeler 02/17/11 - 09:02 pm
The photo accompanying this

The photo accompanying this article shows the river for just what is is, a beautiful and wondrous thing.
Sad to think that our biggest concern is how to make this river more amenable to our ability to import Chinese products.

Riverman1 02/17/11 - 09:30 pm
Rob, I'll be eagerly awaitng

Rob, I'll be eagerly awaitng the stories. Sometimes I'll go out on my boat in the river and just marvel at this huge river. The Columbia County portion is spectacular with its wide, lake-like waters.

Rob Pavey 02/17/11 - 09:37 pm
riverman, I wish more people

riverman, I wish more people visited the river - especially the lower savannah from here to effingham county. once you get a few miles downstream from augusta, it's very much a different world.

AutumnLeaves 02/22/11 - 11:27 pm
Anyone else having trouble

Anyone else having trouble accessing news stories Tuesday evening and/or trying to post, 2/22/2011?

Sean Moores
Sean Moores 02/22/11 - 11:47 pm
Autumn, I just talked to

Autumn, I just talked to Sarah in the newsroom. The web site problem should be fixed now.

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