Water worries

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It certainly was what Augustans wanted to hear when Gov. Sonny Perdue visited the city Wednesday.

Gov. Sonny Perdue, speaking in a hangar at Daniel Field on Wednesday, assured Augustans that they have nothing to fear over interbasin transfers from the Savannah River Basin.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Gov. Sonny Perdue, speaking in a hangar at Daniel Field on Wednesday, assured Augustans that they have nothing to fear over interbasin transfers from the Savannah River Basin.

When someone in the audience at his press conference asked about the possibility of metro Atlanta drawing water out of our coveted Savannah River Basin, Perdue replied, "Look closely, and read my lips. You have nothing to fear."

Sounds reassuring. It sounded that way to Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

Of course, we want to believe the governor. But it's the proposed statewide water management plan that we don't believe in.

"This plan never implied or authorized interbasin transfers of the kind you fear," Perdue told Augustans on Wednesday. True enough. The document doesn't authorize interbasin transfers. That's the job of Georgia's Board of Natural Resources.

Those transfers seem to be implied, though. Starting on page 68 of the draft plan, it lays out all the considerations to be made in the process of engineering an interbasin transfer. These guidelines have every appearance of tacit approval of the bulk movement of water from one watershed to another.

That's a major problem. Saying it's not a major problem is like saying a terrorist isn't dangerous because he doesn't have a bomb -- he just has the instructions on how to make one.

The water plan won approval from an advisory panel Tuesday, and that puts the plan up for approval by the General Assembly. By no means should this water management approach be rubber-stamped the way it currently reads.

Besides the troubling language on interbasin transfers, there's the division of proposed regional water management councils -- their boundaries still don't cleave closely enough to the logical geographic boundaries of river basins. The funding provisions for the $30 million plan aren't specific. The plan exempts agriculture from all conservation measures. It lingers too long on "assimilation capacity" -- basically how much waste a body of water can take; that assumes a right to pollute.

And on and on. There's so much wrong with this plan that the idea of scrapping it outright and starting over is starting to sound more attractive.

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Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/13/08 - 08:23 am
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ANSWER: His lips are moving.

ANSWER: His lips are moving.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/13/08 - 08:24 am
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When someone in the audience

When someone in the audience at his press conference asked about the possibility of metro Atlanta drawing water out of our coveted Savannah River Basin, Perdue replied, "Look closely, and read my lips. You have nothing to fear."

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/13/08 - 08:24 am
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QUESTION: How can you tell

QUESTION: How can you tell when a politician is lying?

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/13/08 - 08:28 am
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The problem is, Perdue does

The problem is, Perdue does not have the power to deliver on his promise. First, look at the political process of the proposed Water Council. It has to be authorized by the legislature in 2008. Then members have to be appointed and they have be be brought up to speed by every conceivable lobbying group. Then they have to argue and come up with a compromise plan. Years are involved here.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/13/08 - 08:30 am
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Now look a Perdue's tenure.

Now look a Perdue's tenure. He is a lame duck. When the Water Council finally gets around into authorizing interbasin transfers, Perdue will be long gone. He will be a fat cat lobbyist. He will be playing with his grandchildren. He will no longer be responsible for what the Water Council and a future governor do regarding the Savannah River.

a crazy old man
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a crazy old man 01/13/08 - 10:25 am
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Sonny Perdue's assurance. Now

Sonny Perdue's assurance. Now that's funny rite there. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL He's sure to say what he thinks people want to hear and do what he wants anyway and you're right, his days are numbered.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/13/08 - 11:27 am
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Now let's look at the

Now let's look at the questions carefully: ". . . someone in the audience at his press conference asked about the possibility of metro Atlanta drawing water out of our coveted Savannah River Basin. . ." Perdue says you have nothing to fear. Of course, that's because the question was phrased incorrectly. METRO ATLANTA will not draw the water from the Savannah. No, no. The water will be drawn out of the Savannah River by a new public Authority created by the Water Council. It might be called something like, "The Georgia Interbasin Transfer Authority." It will have a PR firm that assures the majority of citizens (and legislators) that transfers are for the good of the state as a whole. Perdue was strictly truthful. Metro Atlanta will not pump the water. Someone else will do that. But Perdue is off the hook.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/14/08 - 09:00 am
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Not too much interest in the

Not too much interest in the water Council. I guess Augustans are more concerned about impeaching Cheney than in government encroachment in water supplies for regions.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 01/14/08 - 09:07 am
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When Augusta and Savannah

When Augusta and Savannah officials express concerns about taking Savannah River water for Atlanta, they talk about taking "their" water. This phraseology gives state politicians the opening they need to comfort Augusta officials with the retort, "It's not technically nor economically feasible to pump wate from Augusta to Atlanta. True enough. But the state politicians do not mention to the Augusta politicians that it IS technically feasible to pump water from the Hartwell area to Atlanta, either piggy-backing through the Oconee river watershed or just going directly to the upper Chattachoochee. Lessons - be careful how you frame the debate - - - and "read their lips."

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