Officials Fear Water Crisis in Atlanta
By Greg Bluestein
ATLANTA (Oct. 19) - With the South in the grip of an epic drought and its largest city holding less than a 90-day supply of water, officials are scrambling to deal with the worst-case scenario: What if Atlanta's faucets really do go dry?
So far, no real backup plan exists. And there are no quick fixes among suggested solutions, which include piping water in from rivers in neighboring states, building more regional reservoirs, setting up a statewide recycling system or even desalinating water from the Atlantic Ocean.
"It's amazing that things have come to this," said Ray Wiedman, owner of an Atlanta landscaper business. "Everybody knew the growth was coming. We haven't had a plan for all the people coming here?" Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue seems to be pinning his hopes on a two-pronged approach: urging water conservation and reducing water flowing out of federally controlled lakes.
But that may not be enough to stave off the water crisis. More than a quarter of the Southeast is covered by an "exceptional" drought - the National Weather Service's worst drought category. The Atlanta area, with a population of 5 million, is smack in the middle of the affected region, which extends like a dark cloud over most of Tennessee, Alabama and the northern half of Georgia, as well as parts of North and South Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia.
See: 'Amazing That It's Come to This'