Georgia and Alabama have "a lot more motivation" to come to an agreement over rights to the water flowing through the rivers they share, according to comments U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson made in
The agreement, if it happens, will cause a domino effect of negotiations in the tri-state water wars, the senator told a room of Hall County business leaders Thursday.
But the success of negotiations depends on Georgia's handling of the water that flows from Lake Lanier down the Georgia and Alabama border to the Apalachicola Bay in Florida.
"What we've got to do is recognize that we can't blink this time on reservoirs," Isakson said.
The senator said he doesn't believe new reservoirs are the only answer to Georgia's water management issues. However. he said water planning efforts begun nearly a decade ago in Georgia are steps Georgia should have done a long time ago.
"We can't blink on consumption... without better management, we're just going to be in deep trouble in my opinion," Isakson said.
Isakson made his remarks at the Gainesville Civic Center Thursday. He was the keynote speaker at the Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors lunchtime meeting, addressing
educational issues as well as his opinions on how to reduce the federal debt.
In response to a question from Hall County School Superintendent Will Schofield, Isakson told the group he is pushing for a reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, but he hopes to waive the portion of the bill for Georgia that requires schools' test scores to improve on an annual basis.
Speaking to business leaders Thursday, Isakson said Georgia schools no longer needed to be held to the standard of Annual Yearly Progress.
"We've accomplished with AYP what we set out to do," Isakson said. "...AYP and Needs Improvement need to move aside."
Isakson wrote much of the original bill. He said Thursday he has already written a reauthorization of the bill.
Isakson also said schools should continue testing students and evaluating the scores based on economic factors, ethnicity and disabilities.
"We've got some very good schools going on the Needs Improvement list, because AYP is so hard to meet, so it ought to be repealed," said Isakson. "It's served its purpose."