U.S. Water News Online
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Gov. Don Sundquist has signed into
law an act that increases Tennessee's control over its own waterways,
giving the state the authority to transfer water from one river basin
Sundquist signed the Inter-Basin Water Transfer Act at a ceremony
Proponents of the act say the regulation is needed because of
rapid growth in Atlanta, which could eventually turn to the Tennessee
River at Chattanooga as a source of water.
The act, which Sundquist has called a precautionary measure,
requires any new transfer of water from one river basin into another
to be approved by the Department of Environment and Conservation.
The transfer requests are rare but are expected to increase as
``This legislation helps restore our confidence that water will be
as available to Tennesseans in the 21st century as it has been for
the last 204 years,'' Sundquist said.
The bill would allow the department to take action to preserve
water during drought or other unusual occurrences.
The Tennessee Legislature passed the bill without dissent in May.
``Until this legislation passed, large volumes of water could be
legally diverted without determining whether it's in the interest of
every river user. Tennessee now has the protection it needs,'' said
Rep. Bill McAfee, R-Chattanooga. McAfee was one of the bill's
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