lation in its western-most quarterrelies on groundwater for drink-ing water. In addition, highly con-sumptive uses, such as agriculturalirrigation are increasing.2 From 1985 through 1988, whenprecipitation statewide was 75percent of normal and streamflowhalf of normal, serious declines inwater quality occurred leading to emergency measures to allocateand conserve, including local banson nonessential uses.3 Despite Political Water these problems, a survey con- ducted by the Energy, Environ-ment and Resources Center at theUniversity of Tennessee in 1999suggests that users are resistant torationing or withdrawal permits.
Political partnerships backed by sound science helped muster support for new legislation to protect Tennessee’s water supply. ning and contingency plans tomanage water supplies during pe-riods of drought.4 BY DAVID LEWIS FELDMAN
creasing in frequency and intrac-tability. Georgia, for example, is Over the past two ened resource. Recent drought, in the throes of a water war with Tennessee is a microcosm of because of electric power genera- the environment, Tennessee’s wa- nonpower purposes in western Ten- 78FORUM for Applied Research and Public Policy
Genesis and Evolution
Tennessee Acts
ests, for example, the terms basins, public water providers, and signifi- Spring 200179
Navigating Political Waters
the Tennessee Farm Bureau News80FORUM for Applied Research and Public Policy
the USGS, NASA, and NOAA (August 1997).
1995 (Nashville, TN: U.S. Geological Survey and 1991,” Water Supply Paper 2400 (Nashville, Water Supply Challenges Facing Tennessee: Case Study Analyses and the Need for Long- term Planning, prepared for the Environmental Environment and Conservation (Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee, June 2000).
Update, adopted December 3, 1997, Atlanta K. Gilbert, “City Drops Water War, Proposal Vote Today,” Chattanooga Times and Free Press Timing.and Hard Work
6. T. Charlier, “Memphis Taps into DeSoto (Memphis, TN, May 23), p. A1-9; W. Parks and J.K. Carmichael, Geology and Ground-Water Tennessee, Water Resources Invest. Rep. 88- 4182 (Memphis, TN: U.S. Geological Survey).
search specialist in the Energy, Envi- 7. Inter-Basin Water Transfer Act (2000).
ronment and Resources Center and an 8. Tenn. Code Ann. § 69-3-108(b)(4), 1997.
adjunct professor of political science at 9. A basin is the area of land drained by a the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. major river or stream. Public water providers are entities that acquire the rights to provide water to municipalities or other communities through eminent domain or condemnation.
Significant harm consists of losses to current 1. T. Arrandale, “The Eastern Water Wars,” 10. This paper is adapted from a presentation at J. Schaake et al., “Climate Impacts—Major Resources Association. Thanks to Dodd Gal- Water Resources,” Summary Report of the breath and Alan Leiserson of the Tennessee Workshop on Climate Variability and Water Department of Environment and Conservation for Resource Management in the Southeastern U.S., Vanderbilt University, June 25-27, sponsored by Spring 200181


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