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WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2007
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Riley urges Corps to release more Georgia water

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Gov. Bob Riley has asked Army Secretary Pete Geren to order the Army Corps of Engineers to release water from a federal reservoir in Georgia to help bring drought relief in Alabama.

In a letter sent to Geren on Monday, Riley said the Corps is not following its own reservoir operation manual for Lake Allatoona.

As a result, Riley wrote, Alabama has been shortchanged by 18 billion gallons of water during the current drought.

"That shortfall of water has imperiled Alabama's public water supply, water quality and power grid, as well as threatened the layoffs of thousands of Alabama workers whose employers may not have enough water available to operate their businesses," Riley wrote.

Calls seeking comment from the Corps were not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.

The governor said the Corps should have been generating at least two hours of hydropower per day for the last six months on Lake Allatoona, based on its manual, but has met the minimum releases on only 6 percent of the days since Feb. 1 and on only one day since April 1.

Riley said he raised these concerns with Brig. Gen. Joseph Schroedel, the Corps commander in the Southeast, who told him the Corps would begin generating two hours of hydropower a day out of Lake Allatoona on July 1.

But Riley said Schroedel made it clear last week that Alabama would not be receiving the water.

Riley said the Corps reservoir operation manual was developed after two severe droughts in the 1980s. He said the Corps' failure to follow its own manual is "shocking."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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