Across Georgia

House passes water conservation bill

 

ATLANTA --- Sweeping water conservation legislation is on its way to Gov. Sonny Perdue.

The House gave the Georgia Water Stewardship Act final approval with a 153-8 vote on Thursday. The measure is expected to give Georgia a tool in water negotiations with neighboring Alabama and Florida by showing that sprawling metro Atlanta is working to control its thirst.

Perdue helped write the bill and he's expected to sign it in the coming days.

The bill puts in place a wide-ranging series of conservation measures.

It requires high efficiency toilets, shower heads, and faucets in new construction and limits most outdoor water between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 a.m., which is expected to save millions of gallons of water lost through evaporation.

A federal judge ruled last July that the metro Atlanta area had little legal right to the drinking water from Lake Lanier. The ruling gave Georgia, Alabama and Florida -- the states that have long feuded over the massive federal reservoir -- until 2012 to reach an agreement. If they don't, the city's access to its main water source could be reduced to the level it was at in the 1970s.

Perdue has been locked in secret negotiations with Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

In other news

THE SENATE PROPOSAL to ban texting while driving has received unanimous support. The bill, approved 46-0, would prohibit the practice for all drivers and come with a fine and driver's license penalties. If the law passes, it would go into effect July 1.