South Carolina / North Carolina Water Fight Gives Insight Into Georgia’s Chances

25 08 2008

GREAT FALLS, S.C. — The town’s population dropped by half after the three textile mills closed in the 1980s. Great Falls took on the tattered look of so many other dried-up Southern towns, with a shuttered Winn-Dixie and a movie theater silent on Saturday nights.

But economic salvation may flow just below the red-brick remains of the No. 2 cotton mill. State and local officials tout the mighty Catawba River as a recreational magnet for kayakers, hikers and history buffs. Duke Energy, which manages the Catawba, promises to release enough water to return the river at Great Falls to its formerly frothy self on weekends between March and October.

What if there’s a drought? Or if the booming cities upstream in North Carolina suck so much water from the river that Great Falls and other downstream South Carolina communities become high and dry?

Those twin fears prompted South Carolina to sue North Carolina last year in a case with potentially huge implications for Georgia. The U.S. Supreme Court, which hears interstate disputes, appointed a “special master” to determine whether North Carolina illegally transfers water out of the Catawba River basin.

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and state legislators, casting about for remedies to the state’s severe drought, eye the bountiful Tennessee River that flows within a mile of Georgia’s northwestern corner. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen says the Tennessee is off-limits to Georgia.

 

Read on here.

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