A group of attorneys from Alexander City met late last week with a group of community leaders in Cherokee County to discuss the on-going “water war” between Georgia, Alabama, and Florida – and how it is affecting the water flow in the Coosa River.
Steve Forehand representing the Lake Martin Resource Association and Russell Lands – informed the group that the Army Corp of Engineers has changed the water control manual which governs the amount of water flowing from Georgia into Alabama, to the detriment of those living along the Coosa River in northwest Georgia and Alabama.
It seems the Corp has signed off on the plan to store water in Lake Allatoona, northwest of Atlanta.
He claims there is no flow, nor any releases from the lake, creating lower than normal flows along the Coosa. Forehand also told the group that power generation has been shut down to prevent any releases from the impoundment.
The group from Lake Martin is planning on joining the State of Alabama in their suit against the Army Corp of Engineers, which is filed in Federal Court in Washington, DC.
According to Forehand the low flow in the Coosa caused by the drought is exacerbated by the shutting off of water from Lake Allatoona – which, in turn – has caused Lake Martin in southeastern Alabama to release more water into the Alabama River south of Montgomery to assist with navigation. He says this is a financial detriment to those around Lake Martin.
Forehand gave the Cherokee County group the information in the hope that an entity in Cherokee County would also join the suit as an interested party who has been harmed by the actions of the Army Corp of Engineers by withholding water from Lake Allatoona which could strengthen the claim by the State, Alabama Power, and the Lake Martin Resource Association.
He said joining in the suit could cost $75,000 – and possibly more – over a three to five year period.
Those in attendance from Cherokee County included Commission Chairman Kirk Day; local Chamber of Commerce Representatives; Weiss Lake Improvement Association members; Brandy Pierce, Mayor of Leesburg; and local business owners, along with interested parties from Henry Neely Lake in Etowah and St. Clair Counties.
We will have more on this story as it continues to develop.