Tapping the Tennessee River at Georgia’s Northwest Corner: a Solution to Georgia’s Water Supply Crisis
Carver, William Bradley
Cole, Dargan (Scott), Sr.
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Metro Atlanta and North Georgia are facing a water supply crisis. Metro Atlanta and the counties comprising the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (MNGWPD) are facing a water supply crisis. MNGWPD predicts that it will run short of available water supplies within the next decade or two.1 In addition, the Northwest Georgia Regional Water Resources Partnership, which includes the area between metro Atlanta and Chattanooga, predicts that its own water demand will double by 2030 and may exceed supplies by 2017.2 Further complicating the North Georgia water supply, is the ongoing tri-state litigation over allocation of Lake Lanier between Alabama, Florida and Georgia, which has spanned two decades at this point. The litigation has worn on because the parties have not been able to come to an agreement, and the parties cannot agree because the issue is a zero sum game as framed. The Tennessee River has the potential to change this aspect of the litigation by discharging the return flows of an IBT from the Tennessee River into the Apalachicola/ Chattahoochee/Flint (ACF) and Alabama/ Coosa/Tallapoosa (ACT) river basins. These significant return flows would augment the two basins and could finally provide the opportunity for a satisfactory outcome for all parties involved. (further discussion below). TVA recognizes that the Tennessee River is the only feasible source for North Georgia’s future water needs, and that large inter-basin transfers would have virtually no effect on TVA’s reservoir levels.