Drought-weary Georgia Wants Help From Feds

Reservoirs nearly dry; governor asks Bush to declare disaster area
By Emily Roysdon,  Newser User
Posted Oct 20, 2007 1:37 PM CDT
An exposed lake bed is shown at Lake Lanier in Buford, Ga., Friday, Oct. 12, 2007. Rivers throughout the Southeast are turning to dust, towns are threatening to ration dwindling water supplies and lawmakers...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – With water supplies dwindling because of a severe drought, Georgia's governor declared a state of emergency today and asked President Bush to declare the northern part of the state a disaster area, the AP reports. The state wants permission to skirt EPA rules governing reservoir levels to deal with the drought, which is wreaking havoc on the Southeast, including Atlanta's 5 million residents.

Georgians have been under increasing water restrictions for months, and virtually all outdoor water use is banned in the state's northern counties. Gov. Sonny Perdue asked a judge yesterday to force the Army Corps of Engineers to limit the water it drains from reservoirs into Alabama and Florida streams. A climatologist says months of above-average rainfall is needed to replenish the system.