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State of Georgia seeks updated water control plans from Army Corps of Engineers

Lake Altoona, as Georgia readers know, is a reservoir in the care of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about 60 miles northwest of Atlanta. The Corps of Engineers is currently involved in litigation with the state of Georgia, which has filed a lawsuit in federal court in an effort to get water control plans and manuals for Lake Altoona updated. The state is seeking updates not only for Lake Altoona, but also for other reservoirs in the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa river basin. The Atlanta Regional Commission and the Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority have also filed lawsuits for the same purpose.

The problem, from the state’s perspective, is that the circumstances and issues that were pressing at the time the water control manual was written 50 years ago have changed. Because of this, there are concerns about the extent to which Lake Altoona can be considered a reliable source of water. The state is taking the issue of water allocation seriously as a risk to the health and safety of Georgia citizens. 

For its part, the Corps has said that it has no intention of revising its water control plans and manuals. Political pressure from the state of Alabama is apparently part of the picture. Regionally, water use litigation between the states of Alabama, Florida and Georgia is common, with Atlanta being targeted for its heavy use of water resources.

Sources didn’t specify which federal laws or regulations under which it is attempting to compel the Corps to update water control plans. Environmental compliance is an important task, though, when it comes to water resources. This is especially the case when failure to comply with environmental law is causing immediate harm to neighborhoods and communities.

Source: Northwest Georgia News, “Ga., Cobb County sues Army Corps of Engineers over water supply,” Nov. 8, 2014. 

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