Among the many issues on the minds of American voters is the state of America's infrastructure and water resources. As Sen. Amy Klobuchar stated: " a bridge in America just shouldn't fall down" But in 2007 a US bridge fell down and a major city almost ran out of water.
Do you know where your candidate stands on investing in America's infrastructure?
RECIPE FOR A WATER CRISIS: Plan. Fail. Repeat. | ajc.com
Georgia's water shortage took decades to develop, with action thwarted by officials' short attention spans, feuds between states and the false reassurance of rainy years.
By Matt Kempner
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 12/16/07
No one has ever been fishing in the West Georgia Regional Reservoir that officials first planned in the 1980s to help quench the region's thirst.
That's because despite millions of dollars set aside by three Georgia governors, the state never built the reservoir. It never inundated thousands of acres of woods and pastures along the now drought-stricken Tallapoosa River in Haralson County, just a few miles from the Alabama line.
Nor did the state build the rest of the network of at least a dozen regional reservoirs that were supposed to drought-proof North Georgia. Nor did officials erect a proposed dam on the Chattahoochee River six miles downstream of Lake Lanier to pool more drinking water for metro Atlanta. Nor did they win approval to lock in dibs for more drinking water from Lanier.
Despite ample warnings and dire predictions over the last four decades, metro Atlanta has continued to grow even as it repeatedly failed to guarantee it would have enough water to satisfy its long term needs.
Every drought —- including the current one —- reminds officials how risky the area's water future is.
Abandoned by wavering political attention, shortchanged on money, hamstrung by environmental concerns and stymied by focus on a tri-state water war, potential solutions have died or gone uncompleted.
Even if officials started the process of creating new drinking water resources today, it could take years to get done. Planning for and getting the permit to build a reservoir can take a decade and a half. Some communities have launched water projects on their own or with nearby neighbors, but the results often have been piecemeal.
Bob Kerr, a key water negotiator for Georgia from about 1998 to 2004, said more could have been done by state officials and others.
Someone "has to say, 'We are going to make this a priority.' I don't think that happened," Kerr said. "They didn't say it was a priority, and they didn't put enough money into it."