The southeastern United States continues to suffer through a severe drought. Here in the Atlanta area all outdoor watering has been banned since mid-summer. Landscape companies and nurseries are going out of business putting many already economically challenged people out of work. State agencies and county governments have been asked to reduce water usage by 10-15%. People are beginning to hoard bottled water. Politicians in Georgia, Alabama and Florida are squabbling over the amount of water being released down stream in court. Atlanta bills itself as a progressive international city with over a dozen Fortune 500 companies located here. The city boasts a world class aquarium, four professional sports teams and a metro population of over 5 million people.
All this begs the question why is there a water shortage and why now? Is it global warming? Poor community planning? Greedy city folks? My opinion is that a combination of factors is responsible for the current state of affairs. The leadership of this country has downplayed the scientific evidence pointing to global climate change. Further, they have intentionally tried to discredit many of the researchers trying to find solutions to the complex issues. Praise be to Al Gore and his relentless drum beating on the topic.
The metropolitan Atlanta community planners, commercial and residential builders have done all of the residents in Georgia a disservice. In an effort to maximize profits and power they’ve created a massive metro area with spotty access to public transportation; bulldozed trees without planting for the future; and refused to keep the infrastructure up to speed with the needs of the community. It’s time for leaders to address natural resource management in a sincere effort to improve the quality of life for everyone.