The Flint River has made the Georgia Water Coalition’s Dirty Dozen for the third straight year. The organization’s annual report on the state of Georgia’s waterways and coast line, cited pumps, dams, diversions and state water policy which are cutting into the river’s flow, creating a man-made drought. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)
ALBANY — For the third consecutive year, the Flint River has been named to the Georgia Water Coalition’s “Dirty Dozen” list for 2013, which highlights the worst offenses to Georgia’s waterways.
The annual report shines a spotlight on what the organization calls “state failures that ultimately harm Georgia property owners, downstream communities, fish and wildlife, hunters and anglers, and boaters and swimmers.”
“The Dirty Dozen is not a list of the most polluted water bodies in Georgia, nor are they ranked in any particular order, ” said Joe Cook, Riverkeeper and executive director of the Coosa River Basin Project. “It’s a list of problems that exemplify the results of inadequate funding for environmental protections, lack of political will to enforce environmental laws and ultimately misguided water planning and spending priorities that flow from the very top of Georgia’s leadership.
The organization put the Flint River on the list, blaming pumps, dams, diversions and state water policy which are cutting into the river’s flow, creating a “man-made drought,” citing “too many water withdraws by Atlanta.”
“Prior to 1975 were were looking at flows 30 percent to 100 percent all along portions of the watershed. Now some portions are completely dry,” said Flint Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers.
The Flint originates in south metro Atlanta and flows southwest to join the Chattahoochee River at the Florida state line. The river flows 350 miles and drains an 8,460-square mile area. Along with the Chattahoochee, the Flint is at the heart of two-decade long battle for water rights among Georgia, Alabama and Florida.
Joining the Flint on the Dirty Dozen are:
— The Florida Aquifer
— The Chattahoochee and Etowah Rivers
— The Altamaha River
— Flat Creek
— Ocmulgee River
— Satilla River
— Savannah River
— Lake Alice
— Georgia Coast
— Hurricane Creek
— The Oconee and Ogeechee Rivers
“The Georgia Water Coaltion publishes this annual list as a call to action from our state’s leaders and its citizens to come together to correct pollution problems, eliminate the wasteful use of our state and local tax dollars and restore our rivers, streams and lakes and coastal wetlands,” said April Ingle, Executive Director of the Georgia River Network.