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OCCC Reads 2015-2016: Water Matters: Chapter 3: Shortage in the Land of the Plenty

This guide provides a range of resources to use for OCCC Reads 2015-2016.

Chapter Summary


In Cynthia Barnett's Shortage in the Land of the Plenty, she discusses the Chattahoochee River, otherwise known as the "Hooch" in the south. The Hooch runs 430 miles and is important to Alabama, Georgia, and Florida:

  • Nurseries to native brook trout, rainbows, and browns
  • Cools 16 power-generating plants
  • Constrained by 14 dams
  • Provides water to Atlanta, over 5 million people
  • Irrigates 780,000 acres of farm land
  • Provides Florida with a majority of their oyster and shrimp fishing. 

In return, Metropolitan Atlanta dumps 500 million gallons of treated wastewater from sewage treatments plants per day.

The chapter goes on to talk about the history of the Hooch: ways to harness more water in times of drought, dams and reservoir plans, water wars (battles between the states on who has the "right" to that water) between several states in the South.

In the 19th century, swamplands and wetlands were drained so we could build cities and farms. Today, we are dealing with a lack of water and drought. In 2007 the Southeast was in the worst drought since 1895, when record-keeping began. Lakes and rivers were so low they were in a 90-day reserve, meaning they only had enough water for 90 more days. After a tropical storm moved through that fall, lakes and rivers began to replenish. 

In 2009, US District Court Judge Paul Magnuson created water rulings on which rivers and lakes would supply what cities and states. He left the power between Alabama, Florida, and Georgia to find a plan or he'd cut water off. Magnuson saw what lead to the running out of water during the drought, and gave the power to the states to find a way to conserve water. They had 3 years to determine how to share the water. Georgia appealed the ruling and the South continued to use water like they didn't almost run out. They found new lakes and rivers to go dry so people could water their lawns and soak down driveways. 


Why Use this Chapter?

Why Use this Chapter:

This chapter discusses different water wars between states, and the consequences when there is no water conservation. With a great history on the Hooch, the issues in this chapter may discuss the Southeast, but can easily be relevant to what is happening in Oklahoma.