1sunfight’s Weblog

January 8, 2009

Water Water Everywhere

And not a drop to drink goes the old expression.

I have an online friend who lives in Brisbane, Australia.  At some point last year he got me thinking about water, which explains in part, explains why I started to follow the Great Lakes Compact so closely, since water has become an ever important resource.  During our exchange we both decided that wars in the future would be fought over water, not oil.  As our online friendship continued we learned that where each other live we are in a years long drought.  At first we started comparing notes, and then it turned into some sort of contest as to who has the worst drought.  I was reminded of this today after a torrential downpour in the metro Atlanta area.

A little over a year ago Atlanta’s water supply looked as though it was going to simply disappear, Lake Lanier was going dry, or so it seemed.  The drought in the southeastern United States had gotten so severe, even the BBC was reporting about it.  In October of 2007 Atlanta was within 90 days of running out of water.  It did start raining again, but not very much, although it was just enough to keep us all from drying up and blowing away.  But, even with the small of rain that kept coming our way we were still four years behind in rain fall, we were going to need the rain from at least two hurricanes this past summer to make for it.  The hurricane rains never came, so we were still facing a severe drought and water restrictions.  Last night it rained and I mean it rained.  According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Lake Lanier continued its rapid rise Wednesday, as full rivers and streams poured in.

By 10:15 a.m., Lanier had risen nearly two feet since early Tuesday.  The lake’s elevation was 1,055.16 feet above sea level.  That’s higher than the lake was this time last year, but still 12 feet below its average elevation.  (The lake has rise 2 feet in the last 24 hours.)

Lanier, a federal reservoir that most of metro Atlanta’s water, has not been full since October 2005.

The metro area is expected to continue to have normal to slightly above normal rain this winter, which is excellent news for us!

However, to be fair to my online friend in Brisbane, Australia, he reported the following:

We had a spectacular lightning and rain storm last night.  It lasted several hours and, in that time, dropped 4 and 8 inches of much needed rain on the area.  Creeks that have dry for years have been flowing for the first time since the start of the new millennium.  We’ve had big storms before since moved here, but this is the first time the ground has been saturated enough for water to run off into the reservoirs rather than just soak in like a giant sponge.

Here is a side by side comparison of our lakes after our big storms.  You decide which is lower, or is tied?


Lake Lanier, Atlanta, GA, USA

Lake Lanier, Atlanta, GA, USA



Cressbrook Lake, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Cressbrook Lake, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

However, to our point, water has become scarce, not just in Brisbane and Atlanta, but around the globe.  We could all face water wars in the not too distant future.

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