I have read with great interest the recent pieces on the issue of interbasin transfers and the assertion that Eric Johnson might somehow want to drain our water resources in order to transfer them to Atlanta.
As somebody who knows Johnson personally, I took the time to look past the media hype and get the real facts. Eric Johnson is a resident of Savannah, which shares the Savannah River with Augusta. If any of the candidates for governor understand our concerns, he does.
He has a four-point plan to address Georgia's water challenges: capture, negotiate, litigate, and conserve. Permanent, forced interbasin transfers are not a part of that plan.
What Eric Johnson has said is that in certain emergency situations for a fixed amount of time, it might be appropriate for us to look at the option of interbasin transfers as a last resort, but only with input and buy-in from both the contributing basin and the receiving basin. All parties would have a seat at the table and be able to come to a mutually beneficial agreement.
This is much better than the system we have now. Under the current system we already have approximately 100 communities using some form of interbasin transfers and the determination is made solely by the commission of the Environmental Protection Division.
Under Eric Johnson's plan it would be an open and transparent process in which we could pursue the option of temporary transfers with all parties being provided the chance to give input and make a final decision. It is also important to note that, written into the legislation that created the Atlanta Water District, is the ability to transfer water between the three basins in the Atlanta metro area. No other basin can be considered unless the legislation is changed.
While hype-filled headlines and anger-driven letters to the editor might help sell newspapers, they are certainly not the right way for voters to make informed decisions. I encourage you to look past the hype and look at the real facts and records. When you do, you will see that Eric Johnson is the right man to be our next governor and put Georgia back to work.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.