Flint River among America’s Most Endangered Rivers

Dam proposal would waste taxpayer dollars, devastate Georgia treasure

April 7th, 2009

Angela Dicianno, American Rivers, (202) 347-7550 x3103
Mark Woodall, Flint Riverkeeper, (706) 674-2242
April Ingle, Georgia River Network, (706) 549-4508

Washington— A proposal to dam the Flint River would waste massive amounts of taxpayer dollars, destroy fishing and boating opportunities, and would not solve Georgia’s water needs. This threat landed the Flint in the number two spot in America’s Most Endangered Rivers: 2009 edition.

American Rivers and its partners called on Congress to oppose any legislation authorizing new water supply dams and encouraged local leaders to embrace cost-effective water efficiency measures as a proven water supply solution.

“Spending hundreds of millions of dollars to dam the Flint River simply doesn’t make sense when there are water efficiency options available that are far cheaper and would deliver faster results,” said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers. “This dam building scheme is not the answer to modern Georgia’s water needs.”

“The Flint River is well-loved by anglers, boaters, and Georgia’s families. Damming the Flint would destroy this treasure and would be a major step backward in the quest for responsible, sustainable water supplies,” said Mark Woodall of the Flint Riverkeeper.

The dam proposal has been dusted off as the severe drought in north Georgia has spurred a search for new water supplies to fuel continued growth in Metro Atlanta. In 2008, the Georgia Legislature passed a bill to encourage the construction of new water supply reservoirs. In November, the study of reservoir sites was issued to include two dams on the Flint as well as expansion of current reservoirs on the river’s tributaries.

Metro Atlanta and other municipalities should embrace water efficiency as their first source of water supply instead of rushing to build expensive dams, American Rivers said. Water efficiency means using water more wisely — by fixing leaks, replacing old appliances and fixtures, and taking other common sense steps in our homes, businesses and communities.

Metro Atlanta and the state as a whole should adopt water efficiency measures including consumption based water rates, water fixture retrofits when re-selling older homes, simple, permanent outdoor watering rules, sub-metering on all new multi-family construction, and increased financial incentives for water conservation.

Water efficiency measures cost $0.46 to $250 per 1000 gallons, while dams can cost $4000 per 1000 gallons – and dams cost even more when maintenance and operation costs are included.  Water efficiency measures could yield between 130 and 210 MGD – a 21 to 33 percent savings. This water savings could save Metro Atlanta up to $700 million.

“This dam proposal represents 19th century thinking. Our state needs 21st century solutions like water efficiency  to ensure our economy, our environment  and our quality of life are healthy and thriving in the years to come,” said April Ingle of Georgia River Network.

The Flint is one of just a few rivers in the Southeast to still flow unimpeded for more than 200 miles. The river is used extensively by fishermen and boaters, and many local economies depend on the Flint for tourism dollars.

About America’s Most Endangered Rivers

Each year, American Rivers solicits nominations from thousands of river groups, environmental organizations, outdoor clubs, local governments, and taxpayer watchdogs for the America’s Most Endangered Rivers report.  The report highlights the rivers facing the most uncertain futures rather than those suffering from the worst chronic problems.  The report presents alternatives to proposals that would damage rivers, identifies those who make the crucial decisions, and points out opportunities for the public to take action on behalf of each listed river.
 
Interviews
American Rivers President Rebecca Wodder and Water Efficiency Director Jenny Hoffner (Atlanta, GA) are available for interviews, both pre and post embargo.  Please contact Angela Dicianno (202) 347-7550 x3103 for booking.

Reporters wishing to direct readers to the report online may use the following link*:  www.AmericanRivers.org/EndangeredRivers    


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About American Rivers

About American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 200,000 members, supporters, and volunteers.

Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Find your connections at AmericanRivers.org, Facebook.com/AmericanRivers, and Twitter.com/AmericanRivers.