The Governor’s Water Task Force and the Georgia Water Stewardship Act
Ashley, David M.
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On July 17, 2009, Judge Paul Magnuson issued a 95-page ruling that Lake Lanier was not authorized for water supply. Further, releases from Buford Dam could not occur for the sole purpose of meeting water supply needs downstream. The judge ordered the litigation stayed for three years, allowing for Congressional action approving reallocation of storage in Lake Lanier. If July 17, 2012 arrives with no resolution of the issues, Judge Magnuson’s order would compel Metro Atlanta water supply levels to revert to mid-1970s levels. Governor’s Water Task Force. Governor Sonny Perdue convened the Water Contingency Planning Task Force to look at all possible water supply options in the Metro area if the Magnuson decision stands. The Task Force developed a three-pronged water supply approach for the Metro area: 1. CONSERVE conservation and efficiency measures and reuse; 2. CAPTURE portions of the 50 average inches of rainfall within Georgia’s borders; and 3. CONTROL over our water supply. Georgia Water Stewardship Act (SB 370). As a result of the findings of the Task Force, Governor Perdue introduced SB 370 in the 2010 legislative session to implement water conservation recommendations and best management practices. The bill passed and was signed into law on June 1st, 2010. SB 370 recognizes two imminent needs: 1. To create a culture of water conservation in the State of Georgia; and 2. To plan for water supply enhancement during future extreme drought conditions and other water emergencies Less than two years remain before Judge Magnuson’s decision takes effect. But the work of the Governor’s Water Task Force and the implementation of the Water Stewardship Act will make conservation a statewide priority, encourage efficient water system operation and promote innovative methods of meeting critical water needs across Georgia.
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