Atlanta’s Water War Is First in a flood to come

March 25th, 2012  |  Source: Bloomberg


Atlanta has always prided itself on its forward-looking perspective. As one business leader put it in the late 1980s, “Atlanta is a city of the future, not the past.” Today, however, Atlanta’s past is ensnaring it in a nasty conflict over water -- a kind of fight that’s likely to be more common in the future.

Atlanta developed as a railroad hub. Since railroads tended to be built on ridges, the city wound up at a place where several ridges intersected, “on the drainage divide between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico,” according to the U.S. Geological Survey. As a result, it is the largest city in the U.S. that is not near a major body of water.


Today’s low interest rates offer an ideal situation in which to finance investment in new or replacement pipes. We also need to invest in new technology -- from desalination to strategies for water reuse. In future columns, I will explore ways to better price water -- and also discuss the global dimensions of water problems.

There’s no reason to wait passively for the next water battle. Even before hearing from the Supreme Court, let’s look at the Lake Lanier story as a spur to aggressive action on our water problems.

Abstract only.

Read the full article by Peter Orszag, vice chairman of global banking at Citigroup Inc. and a former director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Obama administration. Here:

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