News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


Whatís that giant sucking sound to the east?

Our collection of old family memorabilia includes a few books of ration stamps from World War II.

In that era, money wasnít enough to get what you wanted or needed. You had to provide ration stamps.

The process limited the amount of goods you could buy. Everyone sacrificed so there would be enough food and other supplies for our troops.

It was a desperate measure for desperate times.

Because of the drought, times are desperate again in Georgia. That giant sucking sound you hear is the city of Atlanta siphoning water.

Gov. Sonny Perdue has ordered all businesses in north Georgia to cut water usage by 10 percent. Itís not clear how he will enforce it or how a business would gauge 10 percent of its usage.

Perdue is right to save water. But, he is wrong in trying to keep most of the water in Lake Lanier instead of letting his downstream neighbors in Alabama and Florida have their federally approved share.

Rather than heightening tensions in the ongoing water war, Gov. Perdue should ration water to each household. If they use their entire ration before the end of the month, they do without.

It might mean less bathing and more deodorant.

It might mean wearing the same clothes more than once between washings.

It might mean dirty cars and crispy lawns.

Itís impossible to know whether this drought is temporary. Maybe it will end next year. Maybe it wonít. Maybe drought is becoming the new climate of the South.

Regardless, demand for water continues to grow with the population.

Atlantans should be responsible for solving their problem rather than expecting their neighbors to bail them out. The Tennessee River, for example, should not be an option.

In major Western cities, most notably Denver, people view water as the precious resource that it is.

Their solutions include something called xeriscaping, in which they cover their yards with drought-resistant plants rather than thirsty grass lawns.

Georgia should show the same kind of leadership in the South.

For now, however, Gov. Perdue is like the bad guy starring in an old cowboy movie with a worn-out plot.

He builds a dam across the creek on his land and cuts the flow to the family downstream.

Where is John Wayne when you need him?

Scott Morris is managing editor.

Scott Morris Scott Morris
DAILY City Editor

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