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Your Views: Water rights laws can complicate our crisis
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1114MatthewGruhn

Lakeview Academy coach Matthew Gruhn talks about its undefeated football season.

Lee Bowers' letter of Oct. 19 was correct on the corps and on the formation of Lake Lanier. His suggestion of the return of water to Lanier and its feeders is also a good idea. However, in a previous letter, it was stated that all people who use septic tanks should be required, by law, to connect to a sewer system. I disagree wholeheartedly.

What should happen is that all users of surface water should be required to connect to a sewer system so the water may return to its source. But all who pull from an aquifer should be required, by law, to have a septic system. This would include any township or other government entity pulling water from the aquifer.

I have a well and a septic system. My excess water goes into my septic tank, out the field lines, through the earth's natural filtration system and, eventually, back into the aquifer I draw from. The circle is complete.

If you require people who pull from the aquifer to hook to a sewer system, you break the circle. You will hasten the loss of water from the aquifer by piping water, which would have returned to it, away to a surface storage pond. That may give you a few more days of water or more water to send down river but, it will be at the aquifers' expense.

So to be fair, users of surface water should be required to hook to a sewer system and users of the aquifers should be required to have septic systems. No exceptions.

While on the subject of water law, I believe all who are east of Texas operate under the riparian water doctrine. (People out West operate under either the doctrine of prior appropriation or a hybrid of the two.) If Georgia hasn't made changes, the riparian water doctrine gives everyone whose property borders a waterway equal rights to said water. No where in this doctrine are water rights to properties not bordering the waterways.

So, technically, if your property doesn't border a lake, river, stream, creek, branch, etc., you have no right to said water. The communities who do own property on the border could, technically, deny all nonbordering communities this water.

That said, all private property owners bordering could balk at any government entity (like a water department) from drawing more water than could be shared equally by the private land holders. And under the riparian water doctrine, no one upstream (like Northeast Georgia) can plug up a dam and deny downstream owners (like Southwest Georgia) of their equal right to this water. Bummer, huh?

This is why the land, where development now sits, only had 1-2 families, if any, on it previously. The property simply could not support more. In other words, thanks to the "development at any cost" mentality and individuals and local governments assuming they have water rights, this water situation could get real ugly before it gets better.

Carol Jones
Maysville

Pit bull owner is not to blame for incident
As I sat reading this story of the pit bull owner being charged for the irresponsible act of a UPS driver, I couldn't help but wonder if this is yet another example of breed discrimination against the pit bull. Perhaps if this person had owned a Labrador or golden retriever, it would not have been labeled as a "dangerous dog."

By the way, statistics have proven that golden retrievers are more prone to biting people than pit bulls, but of course, this fact doesn't make for good publicity so these facts are not mentioned.

I wonder on what authority does a UPS driver have to just walk into someone's home, even if the door is standing open. Do they have no requirement to announce their arrival by the proper knocking on the door or the ringing of the doorbell? I would be quite upset to walk into my foyer and find a stranger standing there! Who's to know if this person is a actual UPS driver or a impersonator coming in to rob or attack you? Is a dog supposed to be able to discern the difference?

I feel that this UPS driver's lack of responsibility was the cause of this incident and yet no mention has been made as to if he will be reprimanded for entering the home without permission. It seems that Kellie McAllister had shown herself to be a responsible pit bull owner by displaying a "Beware of Dog" sign in her yard. So I feel that if she had known that the UPS driver were at her door with a delivery, she would have put the dog up or leashed him, but since she didn't have proper warning, the dog did the only thing it knew to do and that was to try to protect its owner and its property.

I own a Chihuahua-terrier mix dog that weighs less than 20 pounds. If someone were to just walk into my home uninvited, this dog would charge at you and bark (just as I would expect it to do). Surely, I could not imagine muzzling this dog and putting up signs on my home and in my yard stating that it is a dangerous dog because it was doing the job I would expect it to do. I expect each of my dogs to alert me if someone is at my door and I would likewise expect them to charge at an uninvited intruder in my home.

Seems to me that the UPS driver is to blame for this whole incident, and since the dog owner has the burden of trying to purchase and afford a costly additional liability insurance policy, does this mean that UPS will be picking up the tab for the oral surgery?

Does this mean that all dog owners in Hall County should stock up on muzzles and dangerous dog signs just in case the Humane Society decides to place a dangerous dog label on your pet for charging at a intruder? I guess the local pet stores should start stocking up, huh?

Lisa B. Garmon
Gainesville

Corps should clear lake of extra sand, silt
I have a question for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers: Since Lake Lanier is filling up with sand and silt, is it basing its numbers on the volume of water in the lake on the original depths of the lake or the current one?

I remember reading in the paper about a study that suggests that if the lake continued to fill with silt and sand, there might not be a lake in years to come. This seems like a good time to work on the lake and remove the exposed sand and silt.

We know the lake will fill again after much rain. So why not be a little proactive? Some groups are by cleaning up trash around the lake. Seems our government could do the same.

Daniel Franklin
Clermont

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