In 2009, a federal judge ruled that the City of Atlanta had been illegally tapping drinking water from Lake Lanier. The city, which has been facing a water shortage crisis for years, was given until 2012 to apply for a legal permit or to find an alternative solution. According to Jenny Sanders of the Little Tennessee Watershed Association, the thirsty giant with a population of almost six million has recently turned its gaze to northeast Georgia and the headwaters of the Little Tennessee River in Rabun County.
This week Sanders paid visits to both the Franklin Town Board of Aldermen and the Macon County Board of Commissioners to lay out the threat posed by a potential “interbasin transfer” from the Little Tennessee. Sanders also reported on the activities of elected officials in Rabun County who are seeking protection from such a possibility, whether the water is taken from the Little Tennessee or from Lake Burton at the headwaters of the Tallulah River.