When is a water war not a water war? When it is about beer.
Atlanta's growing thirst for water has bar owners, and patrons, in Copperhill, Tenn., nervously looking over their shoulders. What they see is Fannin County, Ga., a dry county, which would grow to swallow their town, alcohol and all, if Georgia's bid to claim more of the Tennessee River is successful.
The San Francisco Chronicle recounts the surprising twist on the story today.
The story begins with the environment, and with rampant suburban sprawl around metro Atlanta that proceeded for years without a concern for its strain on natural resources particularly water. Three suburban Atlanta counties made the nation's top 10 list for fastest rate of population growth since 2000, with population growth between 56% and 62%. That oversight became apparent last year, as the entire Southeast suffered through a historic drought.
As the water supply dwindled, Georgia launched a two-front water war. One was a new front on an old battle against Florida and Alabama for rights to hold back the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system (the Chattahoochee River feeds Atlanta's reservoir, Lake Lanier). The other was a new war waged against Tennessee, vying for lands that were mistakenly ceded to Georgia's border to the north in 1818. Those lands would give access to the Tennessee River.
If there's one thing for certain, beer drinkers are passionate folk. Still, a betting man might not put his money on Copperhill (pop. 500) when Atlanta adds 10,000 people to its population every year.
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