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November 12, 2007


Georgia prays for rain

Dog River Reservoir runs dry

Georgia and much of the southeast have been in a serious drought for months now. One town in Tennessee ran out of water a couple of weeks ago, and the Dog River Reservoir in sububuran Atlanta (pictured above) is nearly dry. Bans have been instituted on "secretive late-night lawn watering" with violators getting their water supply shut off.

So tomorrow, Georgia governor Sonny Perdue is going to pray for rain, along with state legislators and religious leaders. Some residents think this makes total sense. As Rocky Twyman, the organizer of a recent rain-dedicated gospel concert, said:

We need to call on God, because what we're doing isn't working. We think that instead of all this fussing and fighting, Gov. Perdue and all these others would come together and pray.

Uh huh. I guess by "fussing and fighting" he means "conserving water". Given that greater Atlanta has become synonymous with "urban sprawl hell", and the fact that there are no lakes that aren't man-made in the entire state of Georgia, then yes, it's true: what they're doing isn't working.

Not everyone likes that the state government is turning to prayer to address the problem. The Atlanta Freethought Society is staging a protest. "The governor can pray when he wants to," said Ed Buckner, who is organizing the protest. "What he can't do is lead prayers in the name of the people of Georgia."

But the last time the governor prayed for rain, it worked! Kind of. In 1986, then-governor Joe Frank Harris sent out a proclamation asking Georgians to pray for rain. A few days later began "several weeks of almost daily rains," he claims, though the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that they actually started getting some rain a few days before the magical state-wide prayer intervention.

categories: Culture, Religion, Science
posted by amy at 4:49 PM | #

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Hey, Moses and the Jews wandered in the desert for 40 years. I say let Sonny Perdue and the Georgians have a turn.

Posted by: T-Rock at November 13, 2007 2:49 PM

Frightening, but not surprising.

Posted by: Leigh at November 14, 2007 2:31 AM

Yeah, really. But I was encouraged to see that lots of Atlantans are being vocal about how dissatisfied they are with the assumption that once it starts raining, due to state-sponsored prayer or not, all Georgia's problems will be solved. The LA Times reports that the AJC blog was full of comments from residents who still want better water management practices after all this praying for rain nonsense is over.


Posted by: amy at November 15, 2007 10:22 AM

The Dog River Reservoir was lowered intentionally for the last 30 months - this was done so that improvements could be performed and the lake level raised by 10 feet. Douglas County is now raising the lake (August 2009) one foot per week and it will be full in September 2009.

This was not due to the drought. The City drained it intentionally. The drought was only a coincidence.

The media (local TV) had a field day with the photo-op, however, and I drove past it daily for years. More than once I drove past it and stopped to watch the ignorant TV Reporters stand in front of a camera with the drained reservoir in the background.

This is one of many things that the media did with the drought coverage.

The drought, of course, is very real; It's only that the Dog River Reservoir's lowering had nothing to do with the drought, except indirectly; Obviously, the reservoir is being improved to weather the drought better and to prepare for growth. Georgia is now at 9 Million people and has very very few natural lakes of size; All Georgia has is mis-appropriated reservoirs (TVA and Army Corps) and ongoing Supreme Court water wars that may never end;

Posted by: Joey at August 1, 2009 9:21 PM

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