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Tennessee River water issue may flow into Lake Lanier Associations annual meeting
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Cousins Jahnyce Elliston, 9, and Robert Rider, 4, feed ducks Monday at Longwood Park in Gainesville. A Tennessee-Georgia border issue dealing with water usage that caused a stir a few years ago may resurface at the Lake Lanier Association’s annual meeting Saturday. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Lake Lanier Association annual meeting

When: 3-7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Pelican Pete’s at Port Royale Marina, 8800 Port Royale Drive

Admission: Free for members; non-members can attend but will be encouraged to join LLA

A Tennessee-Georgia border issue that caused a stir a few years ago may resurface at the Lake Lanier Association’s annual meeting Saturday.

The event’s featured speaker will be Brad Carver, an Atlanta lawyer who spearheaded tweaking the state line in an effort to produce more water for Georgia and make it “drought-proof.”

In 2013, the Georgia Senate voted to direct the attorney general to start litigation if no agreement is reached.

Carver, who couldn’t be reached for comment, “has invested considerable time and effort on issues surrounding the transfer of a small amount of water from the Tennessee River into the watershed that feeds Lake Lanier,” states a Lake Lanier Association invitation about the event at Port Royale Marina in Forsyth County.

“It is intriguing,” LLA Executive Director Joanna Cloud said Monday of Carver’s idea. “We’ve got to look at the costs. I do think that going forward we need to look at additional water supply.”

Carver’s appearance also falls on the heels of a ruling in a U.S. Supreme Court case involving a water-sharing dispute between Georgia and Florida.

In February, Ralph I. Lancaster, a Maine lawyer appointed by justices to preside over the case, rejected Florida’s attempts to set limits on Georgia’s consumption of water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, which includes Lake Lanier in the headwaters.

The ruling is a recommendation to the Supreme Court, which will make the final determination.

Lancaster basically deferred to the Army Corps of Engineers, which is putting final touches on an operating manual for the basin, saying, “The corps can release (or not release) water largely as it sees fit.”

He also slammed Georgia’s upstream agricultural water use, saying it has “been largely unrestrained.”

Cloud noted that Lancaster also had “mentioned investigating out-of-state water supply.”

In an earlier order, Lancaster suggested that Georgia and Florida consider as part of a settlement agreement the “importation of water” from outside the river basin “to supplement streamflow during drought periods.”

Saturday’s event will be far from just a serious discussion about water issues, as it also will feature food and a social time, including a cash bar and door prizes.

But those attending the event “will learn all about what we’ve been up to and what we expect for the rest of the new year,” the invitation states.

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