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Isakson, Chambliss praise Perdue for water solution
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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., praised Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue for offering a solution to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the excess release of water from Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint reservoirs.

“Gov. Perdue has provided the Corps with a reasonable solution to a critical shortage of Georgia’s water resources, and it is imperative that Corps responds to Georgia’s request immediately,” Isakson said. “I will continue to work with my colleagues to bring about a resolution among the three states and will work to see that the threat to our Georgia lakes is stopped.”

“Despite doing everything to conserve all possible water resources, Georgia is in a crisis with respect to water,” said Chambliss. “I applaud Gov. Perdue for his leadership in providing the Army Corps of Engineers with a sensible and fair plan to help alleviate this dire situation, and the Corps needs to respond quickly. All of us will continue to hold their feet to the fire because their lack of action has been unacceptable.”

In a letter to the Corps, Perdue has requested the immediate alteration of all ACF reservoir releases, so that releases from Woodruff Dam at Lake Seminole are only equivalent to inflows, up to 5,000 cubic feet per second. The letter stipulates that any additional inflows above 5,000 cubic feet per second will be stored.  In order to make a short-term immediate impact on Georgia’s water supply, Perdue has requested this action be taken immediately, and kept in place until March 1, 2008.

Isakson and Chambliss have continually worked to get Georgia, Florida and Alabama together and to force the Corps of Engineers to update a 20-year-old water control plan for the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa and Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basins. Last year, Isakson and Chambliss held Senate hearings in Gainesville and Columbus to implore the Corps to keep its commitment to update its outdated water control plan for the two river basins.

On Aug. 1, Isakson and Chambliss met with Secretary of the Army, Pete Geren, as well as Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works John Paul Woodley, Lt. Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp and General Counsel Craig Schmauder.  At the meeting, Geren indicated his desire to give mediation time to work before starting the update of the water control manuals.

However, Geren gave his commitment to the senators that if and when mediation broke down and was not making progress, he would begin the update of the water control manuals. Geren’s predecessor had committed to begin the update of the water control manuals on Jan. 2, but failed to honor that commitment.

On Sept. 28, after judges involved in the mediation announced that the talks had broken down, Isakson and Chambliss sent a letter to Geren strongly urging him to honor his pledge to update the water control plan.