Georgia is still eyeing Tennessee River as a way to alleviate its water troubles – at least, to small extent.
The Peach state lost a court battle two years ago that stripped Atlanta of a major water source, so it’s been calling on different regions to come up with a plan to satisfy their own water needs.
The Northeast Georgia plan mentioned the Tennessee River and suggested two possible options: pumping from upstream tributary rivers, or taking directly from the Tennessee River itself. David Ashburn helped write the plan, and he says even though the river doesn’t run through Georgia, they still deserve access.
“It is the primary source of water for the southeastern United States. It’s not owned by Tennessee. The goal is: Can we manage it collectively for all the citizens of the US? Because no one state owns it.”
Ashburn says Georgia could pump up to 400 million gallons a day from the river without any negative effects.
The Tennessee Valley Authority partially confirmed that figure, but also said an inter-basin transfer of that size would have serious consequences for people living nearby reservoirs. It would also be unsustainable during times when rainfall was below normal.
The 136-page water plan primarily focuses on conservation efforts, and only mentions the Tennessee River a handful of times. The proposal will be up for public comments until May.