Residents and Businesses Could Soon be at Risk

By: Rhiana Huckins
By: Rhiana Huckins

Water supplies have been depleting rapidly because of a major drought. Levels on the Chattahoochee River have been irregular for three years straight now.

Since the beginning of the month, the levels on Lake Lanier in Georgia have been dropping a foot each week.

"The lake elevation is 185.3; this is approximately 5 ft lower than elevation would be. We're seeing an effect all the way down the river, even though they are minimal. None of the users at this present time are experiencing difficulty and we hope they don't," says Richard Johns of US Army Corps of Engineers.

The Chattahoochee River merges with several lakes in Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

So far, businesses do not see the drought being a threat, though they do depend on water supply in order to function.

Georgia Pacific Public Affairs Celia Boswick says, "Because of our location on the Chattahoochee River, we believe that the US Army Corps of Engineers plan to supply the stakeholders of the river, which include Lagrange, and Columbus, GA and they will meet our water needs."

Southern Nuclear and Plant Farley are aware of the drought affecting their business and released this statement:

"Southern Nuclear and Plant Farley personnel are aware of the on-going challenges surrounding the drought. Our staff is working very closely with the Corp of Engineers to ensure that this situation is being managed in the best possible way, and in a manner in which Plant Farley will be able to continue to operate. Plant Farley is currently operating safely. The safety of our employees and the community is our top priority and will continue to be, as we make decisions to move forward."

Businesses may be functioning normally for now, but if levels continue to drop, things could change.

Until a significant amount of rainfall touches the area, there is only so much that can be done.

"In the situation of a drought, we need to conserve, need to cut watering the lawns, need to think about the way we use water, even though we use ground water and not surface water. We need to conserve and look out for the future," said Johns.

Of course all states are doing everything they can to protect their water supply.

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue asked President Bush to declare northern Georgia a major disaster area.

Alabama Governor Bob Riley is urging Bush to deny the request, saying that would put Alabama residents and jobs at risk.

To find out more about the water systems of the Chattahoochee River, you can log on the US Army Corps of Engineers at water.sam.usace.army.mil.


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