The Georgia Water Coalition released a list of the state's 12 dirtiest or threatened rivers over the weekend, and my little community has the embarrassing distinction of being on it (at number 6) due to the foolish pursuit of a coal fired power plant that will suck 16 million gallons of water a day out of either the Oconee River (which is always critically low), or 15 wells in the recharge area of the Ogeechee River. Now home owners and farmers will have to compete with a coal plant for sufficient water for daily use.
Let me make this clear: I know and love many good people in Atlanta and other metropolitan cities in Georgia who have serious water shortage issues. I know they need water for their families and communities just like the rural folks do.
The difference is, when the only source of water you have for your home or farm is a well, you treat it with incredible respect and conservation. Losing your water trumps everything else on your day's agenda. The solution isn't as easy as calling the city utility department and finding out that it is something simple like flushing the lines. Not having water demands immediate attention, and it can also mean considerable costs.
The people who depend on wells in the area around the proposed plant site understand better than anyone else that the threat to our wells is real. If we lose our water permanently due to the draw down (and a USGS staffer with no skin in the game said it will happen sooner rather than later if the plant is built), everything we have invested in our homes and farms will be dried up, literally.