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Water Wars Could Redraw State Lines

March 26, 2013
By: Ben Potter, Farm Journal Technology Editor

Georgia wants more water. Once again, the state is eyeing its Tennessee neighbors to the north for a solution.

Senators passed Georgia House Resolution 4 by a margin of 48-2 today in another attempt to redraw the state boundaries. Poor survey work in 1818 caused the state boundary to be drawn one mile south of where it was intended to go. The state has made numerous failed attempts to change the boundary, including in the 1890s, 1905, 1915, 1922, 1941, 1947 and 1971.

Redrawing the state line to its intended location would give Georgia newfound access to the Tennessee River. Supporters of the resolution charge that Tennessee has used these mismarked boundary lines to block access to this waterway. State Rep. Harry Geisinger (R-Roswell) and others say they hope the issue will eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where they are confident of a favorable ruling for the Peach State.

Despite the strong showing from the Georgia legislature, skeptics remain on both sides of the border.

"I don’t see why Tennessee has a problem with exchanging land with itself and giving Georgia a billion gallons of water per day in exchange for nothing," quips Atlanta Journal-Constitution news editor George Mathis. "Whatever happened to ‘love and water thy neighbor’?"

You can explore this interactive map from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that details the dispute through the years. Meantime, are you concerned about potential water wars in your state?
 

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RELATED TOPICS: Sustainability, drought

 
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