A Water Resources Survey: Atlanta, Ga (1960-2009)


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A Water Resources Survey: Atlanta, Ga (1960-2009)

  1. 1. A Water Resources SurveyAtlanta, Georgia 1960-2009Anthony ScalettaDr. Greg FaiersWater Resources - Geography 1240April 23, 2010In his March 1, 1966 speech to Congress former U.S. Secretary of State Edmund Muskie asserted that, “High quality water is more than the dream of the conservationists, more than a political slogan; high quality water, in the right quantity at the right place at the right time, is essential to health, recreation, and economic growth." Nearly half a century later and with the realization that humanity is on the brink of a global water crisis, the words of Edmund Muskie hold their weight now more than ever. Indeed, in places such as the Southwestern United States and much of the African continent the water crisis has been real for many years now. But when one thinks of the city of Atlanta, Georgia, situated in the abundant rainfall producing climate of the Southeastern U.S., it is not likely that the words 'water crisis' will come to mind. Perhaps they should. Atlanta's water resources are currently being threatened by a combination of explosive population growth and a fast warming climate. This economically powerful city uses the Latin phrase 'Resurgens' in its official city seal (see cover page), which translates to English as “rising again.” As the fastest growing metro area in the country and home to many of world's most powerful corporations and Fortune 500 companies, it is safe to say that this " Empire State of the South" has risen. However, all this growth comes at a major cost to the region's most vital resource: water. It is safe to say that without sufficient and reliable water resources it is nearly impossible for Atlanta to maintain its fast-paced growth, let alone sustain its already thirsty population. After all, " high quality water, in the right quantity at the right place at the right time, is essential to health, recreation, and economic growth." If the recent 2007 drought is a prospect of things to come (and most data would suggest that it is) Atlantans may have a potential catastrophe on their hands. Just what does the future have in store for Atlanta's water resources? To better answer this question we can conduct a 50 year survey (1960-2009) of Atlanta, Georgia's water resources by first taking a closer look at its geography and then using the C.W. Thornthwaite Decreasing Availability Water Budget to examine temperature and precipitation data for the 50 year study period we can conduct a statistical analysis to determine the implications of Atlanta's long-term water resource trends. Much like any city Atlanta's geography plays a seminal role in the city's water resources; therefore it is important to consider some of Atlanta's geographic characteristics such as topography, climate, and population when conducting a survey of its water resources. Atlanta, located at a latitude of 33°45 North and a longitude of 84°23 W, sits atop a ridge south of the Chattahoochee River near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in northwestern Georgia. This sprawling city encompasses a total area of 132 square miles (of which 1 square mile is water) and straddles the Eastern Continental Divide. Interestingly, this subcontinental divide also acts as a precipitation drainage partition. Rain that falls on the southern and eastern sides of the divide drains into that Atlantic Ocean, while rain that falls on the northern and western sides runs down to the Gulf of Mexico via the Chattahoochee River (City of Atlanta DWM 4). From a watershed perspective Atlanta is located in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin (see Map 1). The Basin's headwaters originate in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia and flow in a southwesterly direction all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico (Georgakakos 1). The ACF Basin, and in particular the upper Chattahoochee River, provides Atlanta with over 70 % of its water resources (Edgens 16). By virtue of its geography Atlanta is the upstream water user of the ACF Basin, and as we will discuss later, is embroiled in an interstate water conflict with downstream users in both Florida and Alabama. Atlanta's climate can be classified as humid subtropical, or Cfa type, with hot, humid summers and mild winters. July is the hottest month with average temperatures for the month ranging between 71-89° F, while January is the coldest month with average temperatures between 33- 52° F. Atlanta only receives around two inches of snow per year. With an average elevation of over 1,000 feet above sea level (see Map 2) Atlanta’s climate is slightly more temperate than other Southeastern U.S. cities along the 33° N latitude. Yet, it is a typical Southeastern U.S. city in that it receives an abundant and relatively evenly distributed amount of precipitation (approximately 50 inches) throughout the year. On average Atlanta receives 117 days of precipitation per year, making it a relatively wet location. However, global climate change is quickly altering Atlanta's average temperatures and precipitation levels.When conducting a survey of Atlanta's water resources the role that climate change is already playing and will surely play in the future must not be minimized. Indeed, Atlanta's average temperatures are already showing a warming trend while its precipitation patterns are becoming more erratic. As early as 1996, climatologists estimated that Atlanta's number of days over 90° F will increase from 17 to 53 (Response 141). This type of warming has serious water resource implications, as 36 more days per year over 90° F will ratchet up the environment's demand for water as evapotranspiration rates will spike right along with temperatures. In 2004, based on national assessment reports, Dr. Judith Curry of the Georgia Tech School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences reasoned that “Atlanta can expect warmer temperatures to be accompanied by more severe heat waves, increased heavy rainfall events, and more severe and longer droughts” (1). Curry's claims have already been substantiated to some degree by the increasingly unpredictable precipitation patterns, as evidenced by the recent record lows and highs set in 2007 and 2009 respectively (see Figure 3). The September 2009 rain event dumped a whopping 18 inches of rain in a 24 hour period, leaving half of the city of Atlanta flooded and drowning six people. This certainly qualifies as an “increased heavy rainfall event.” Further bolstering Curry's report is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 2009 General Circulation Model (GSM), which is the foremost numerical model currently available for simulating the global climate change response (Georgakakos 2). The 2009 IPCC GSM assessment of the ACF River Basin showed that " significant climate changes are likely to occur in the forthcoming decades in the ACF River Basin with definitive implications for the currently formulated water, energy, and environmental management strategies. More specifically, 70% of the GCM scenarios lead to adverse water resources impacts including lower lake levels, water supply shortages, reduced firm energy generation, and lower instream flows. Future droughts are likely to be more intense, with the potential to exacerbate stresses and water use conflicts" (Georgakakos 2). It is difficult and certainly frightening to imagine a drought more intense than the 2007 drought that plagued Atlanta and much of the Southeastern U.S. Dr. Curry contends the following: " The far most serious issue for the region is drought. The economic impact in North Georgia of the 2007 drought has been estimated at $1.3 billion. Such droughts with greater severity are expected to become more commonplace. Compounding the issue of drought is rapidly growing population: water demand in the greater metropolitan Atlanta region in 2020 is expected to increase by approximately 60%. We are currently in the midst of a water crisis; we are facing the prospect of future water catastrophes" (2). It is interesting to note that Dr. Curry has readily acknowledged that Atlanta is " in the midst of a water crisis" while also calling attention to what is perhaps the most critical geographic factor affecting Atlanta's future water resources; its population growth. Metropolitan-Atlanta is currently experiencing an unprecedented rate of population growth, which has quickly made it the fastest growing metro area in the entire United States. With a population increase of more than one million people over the last decade, Metro-Atlanta's population has swelled to over 5.5 million residents (City of Atlanta DWM 6). Not surprisingly, this has facilitated a sharp increase in the residential demand for water, which currently accounts for approximately 54% of Atlanta's water withdrawals (City of Atlanta DWM 6). The formula is simple: too many people, not enough water. In his Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy journal article, " Thirst for Growth," Jefferson Edgens rather plainly states that, " In the future, managing water supply to account for Atlanta's growth as well as fulfill the needs of downstream (users) will be a tall order" (14). Metro-Atlanta's explosive population growth doesn't seem to be showing signs of slowing down anytime soon, which along with climate change is working to exacerbate the region's water problems. Rapid population growth is a double-edged sword for Atlanta. On one hand all of this growth is quite economically beneficial for Atlanta, yet this growth is simultaneously working against the city. What good is building up the city if there is not enough water to sustain the growth? When addressing climate change in the context of population growth, Dr. Curry believes that, " The greatest economic loss to Atlanta could result from increasing water shortages and further degrading air quality, as businesses and industries decide that Atlanta’s environment cannot sustain long term operations for their companies nor provide a desirable quality of life for its employees. Add in an unreliable water supply and unsustainable growth with lack of planning, and Atlanta could look much less attractive for future economic development" (3). When it comes to assessing Atlanta's water resources future, climate change may be viewed as the wild card while population growth is its ace-in-the-hole, for Atlanta's water resource problems can at least be somewhat alleviated through coordinated planning, policy and conservation efforts. However, if Atlanta's current population growth remains unchecked there is surely a risk of future water shortages regardless of how much climate change alters precipitation patterns. In hopes of gleaning Atlanta's future from a climatic and water resources perspective, we should first look backwards by conducting a survey of Atlanta's water resources over the last 50 years using water budget modeling and statistical analysis. To best conduct a survey of Atlanta’s water resources between 1960 and 2009 the C.W. Thornthwaite Decreasing Availability Water Budget Model was utilized. This decreasing availability model was chosen for its overall accuracy, as it accounts for the amount of soil moisture that is realistically available to plants within the rooting zone and then adjusts Potential Evapotranspiration (PE) proportionately. This level of accuracy in PE modeling is highly desirable for PE, as it is the basic building block of the water budget model. The Encyclopedia of Climatology defines PE as the “amount of water that would evaporate and transpire from a landscape fully covered by a homogenous stand of vegetation without any shortage of soil moisture within the rooting zone.” Therefore, PE provides the basis for water budgeting by offering what the Encyclopedia of Climatology refers to as an " approximate estimate of potential or optimum water demand in the landscape that could be met by current precipitation and soil water utilization." For this particular survey, water budget modeling is based on 50 years (1960-2009 ) of mean monthly temperature and precipitation data derived from the National Weather Service Office (WSO AP) at the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, which is situated about ten miles south of Atlanta. The Atlanta WSO AP data was used to construct a water budget for each of the 50 years in the study period, which produced a set of annual data consisting of five specific water budget parameters that were used to determine long-term averages as well as long-term trends. The five specific water budget parameters are as follows: Annual Precipitation (P); Annual Potential Evapotranspiration (PE); Annual Actual Evapotranspiration (AE); Annual Deficit (D); and Annual Surplus (S).To determine the long-term averages of the five water budget parameters (plus one additional parameter, Soil Moisture Storage) a series of line graphs were constructed using both raw and smoothed data (see Figures 1-7). While the raw data (graphed as a blue line) was used for analysis purposes, the smoothed data (graphed as a red line) was used in an attempt to capture important patterns in the data while leaving out the noise of the extreme high and low values. The smoothed data was produced by running a five-year moving average through the raw data. Then, using the long-term average data an analysis for trend was conducted with a Spearman Test for Trend as a means for evaluating the statistical significance of each of the five parameters. Based on the survey's sample size of 50, the significance of the Spearman correlation coefficient is determined by the following critical values: r = < +/- .30 (insignificant trend); r = +/- .31 - +/- .42 (significant positive/negative trend); r = > +/- .43 (highly significant positive/negative trend). Figure 1 depicts a monthly average Precipitation and Potential Evapotranspiration graph, which is showing the long-term, or 50 year, average monthly changes in P and PE during the course of the year. As to be expected of Atlanta's Cfa climate, we see a monthly average P pattern that peaks in March at 5.24 inches and exceeds PE for the months of January, February, March, April, October, November and December, thus generating surplus moisture during these months. P levels fall below PE in the months of May, June, July, August, and September. PE's bell-shaped line is not surprising as it raises, crests, and falls back down right in turn with Atlanta's four seasons. The ‘top of the bell’ is formed in concordance with the hot, humid summer months and peaks in July, the hottest month of the year. Figure 1 also helps to explain Figure 2, which is depicting the long-term monthly average Soil Moisture Storage, or simply ST, for the 50 year study period. The Encyclopedia of Climatology defines ST as the “water within the plant's rooting zone that is available for evaporation and transpiration.” In Figure 2, we can see that ST is at or near capacity (six inches) for the first and last few months of the year when the ground is saturated due to sufficient P and low levels of PE. Conversely, we see that the ST line bottoms out during the hot summer months when PE is highest and the warmer temperatures withdraw water from ST as a means of satisfying the increased climatic demands for water. The nexus between these two parameters is best illustrated by comparing their lines as graphed in Figures 1 and 2. While PE's line starts low and rises until it crests with the hot summer temperatures and then falls back down as autumn sets in, ST's line graphs by starting high and decreasing until it bottoms out in the hot summer months and then begins to rise again as temperatures cool. The inverse relationship between the graphed lines of these two water budget parameters illustrates temperature's critical role in water budgeting while also gleaning the implications of climate change induced warming on water resources. Figure 3 graphs long-term average annual Precipitation. For the 50 year study period average annual P ranged from a low of 31.85 inches in 2007 to a high of 66 inches in 1975. The Spearman Test for Trend produced a critical value of .11, therefore revealing an insignificant long-term trend in P over the last 50 years. Any extremes in P are marked by the raw data line, which highlights both the abnormally wet years of 1961, 1975, 1989, and 2009 as well as the drought years of 1963-64,1966, and 2007. Most striking is the fact that both the 50 year record low and high P values, set in 2007 and 2009 respectively, occurred within just a two year span. Such extremes in precipitation over such a short amount of time are surely a harbinger of a future filled with unpredictable precipitation patterns thanks in large part to the effects of global climate change. In fact, as Robert Hunter, Commissioner of Atlanta's Department of Watershed Management, notes, " 2009 started in a drought with water use restrictions that significantly reduced water revenues and ended in record rainfall that dampened water demand" (3). Indeed, the precipitation patterns of the last three years are a testament to the forecasting of both Dr. Judith Curry and the IPCC and its GSM assessment. A graph illustrating long-term average annual Potential Evapotranspiration is depicted in Figure 4. For the 50 year study period average annual PE ranged from a low of 31.04 inches in 1966 to a high of 39.64 inches in 2007. It is notable that the 50 year record low for P and 50 year record high for PE both occurred in the same year, hence the drought of 2007, which with P 16 inches below normal produced one of the worst droughts on record (Lohr Georgia 1). Comparing the 2007 data from Figures 3 and 4 illustrates the recipe for a severe drought: much warmer than usual temperatures (as evidenced by the survey's peak PE value) and record low amounts of P (as evidenced by the survey's single lowest P value). And a severe drought is precisely what happened. In fact, things got so dry and desperate that Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue led a prayer service for rain in front of the Capitol building in downtown Atlanta (Lohr Georgia 1). Perhaps, most notable about Figure 4 is the clear upward trend in PE. The Spearman Test for Trend produced a critical value of .68, therefore revealing a highly significant positive long-term trend in PE over the last 50 years. This would indicate a warming trend in Atlanta's climate, which has serious implications for Atlanta's water resources. As warmer temperatures drive up PE, the increased climatic demand for water will have a negative effect on ST and eventually on S, ultimately diminishing Atlanta's water reservoirs and creating shortages. This portends a catastrophe for a city whose already swollen population is growing at an unprecedented rate. As previously discussed, if Atlanta's number of days per year over 90° F increases by 36 as predicted; this will allow the PE trend to continue its sharp upward movement (Response 141). In the face of mounting scientific evidence it is hard to deny that Atlanta's climate is warming; however it may be difficult to envision the precise impacts of such warming on the people of Atlanta. Researchers at Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences predict that, " In the 2080s, the average summer high will probably be 96 degrees in Atlanta, with extreme temperatures reaching 115 degrees. With a warming of only 2 degrees (which is likely over the next few decades), heat related deaths in Atlanta are expected to increase from 78 annually now to anywhere from 96 to 247 people per year, with major heat waves associated with even greater loss of life" (Curry 1). Unfortunately, the highly significant positive long-term PE trend would suggest that these 'major heat waves' will quickly become a reality. It would also suggest that subsequent prolonged droughts will wreak havoc on Atlanta's water resources as warmer temperatures will dry out Atlanta by pulling too much water out of the ground. Such protracted dryness combined with a consistently high PE rate will make for a highly water stressed environment. A graph illustrating long-term average annual Actual Evapotranspiration is depicted in Figure 5. The Encyclopedia of Climatology defines AE as the “amount of precipitation and soil water withdrawals actually used by the plants to try to meet the energy demands of PE.” For the 50 year study period average annual AE ranged from a low of 22.99 inches in 1983 to a high of 36.40 inches in 1994. The Spearman Test for Trend produced a critical value of .42, therefore revealing a significant positive long-term trend in AE over the last 50 years. It should be noted that with a critical value of .42, AE is on the cusp of showing a highly significant positive trend. It is encouraging to see the AE trend mostly keeping pace with the upward PE trend, as this indicates that Atlanta's climatic demands for water are largely being met from year to year. However, with the frequency and severity of warm weather induced droughts on the rise AE is going to have to do more than just keep pace with the upward PE trend if Atlanta's water resources are not to become severely depleted. Figure 6 graphs long-term average annual Moisture Deficit. The Encyclopedia of Climatology defines D as the “difference between P and AE, and, therefore D represents the water that would have been used by plants and is a measure of crop irrigation need or potential.” For the 50 year study period average annual D ranged from a low of 0.36 inches in 1967 to a high of 11.63 inches in 2007. The Spearman Test for Trend produced a critical value of .8, therefore revealing an insignificant long-term trend in D over the last 50 years. The many peaks and valleys in the graphed raw data line in Figure 6 are indicative of the variability of the D parameter. While it changes frequently, and sometimes drastically, from year to year the long-term trend analysis suggests that D has held relatively steady over the last 50 years. This parameter is most useful for agricultural purposes and the modeling of crop stress, something that Metro-Atlanta is not directly concerned about. It is notable, and not surprising, that the record high Moisture Deficit of 11.63 inches occurred in the drought year of 2007. Additionally, we see the record setting wet year of 2009 (with a D value of 1.70 inches) reflected in the tremendous spike of the raw data line. A graph illustrating long-term average annual Surplus Moisture is depicted in Figure 7. The Encyclopedia of Climatology defines S as “representing the precipitation not used for evapotranspiration or soil water recharge, and, therefore the water available for surface runoff to lakes and streams or for percolation into groundwater tables.” Thus, S is a useful water budget parameter for estimating runoff, stream flow, and groundwater recharge. For the 50 year study period average annual S ranged from a low of 4.56 inches in 1999 to a high of 32.66 inches in 1975. Again, the record low and high precipitation amounts of 2007 and 2009 are easily noticed with the graphing of the raw data. The Spearman Test for Trend produced a critical value of -.04, therefore revealing an insignificant long-term trend in S over the last 50 years. Similar to the D graph there is a good deal of inter-annual variability with the S parameter, yet the long-term trend analysis suggests relative stability over the last 50 years. At first glance it may seem that the long-term steadiness of S would indicate that Atlanta need not worry about future water supply. However, it is important to consider the effects of Atlanta's explosive population growth on S. The majority of Atlanta's water needs are currently met with surface water (i.e. the Chattahoochee River) and since S represents water available for surface runoff to lakes and streams, it is an important indicator of the water available for Atlantan's consumption. With the level of population growth that Atlanta is experiencing, along with its warming temperatures, S needs to be demonstrating a highly significant positive trend in order for Atlantans to be able to breathe easy. However, S is showing an insignificant trend and possibly even beginning to move toward a negative trend. The insignificant trend of S combined with a burgeoning population indicates that there is a long-term risk of water shortages in Atlanta unless the proper conservation measures are implemented. The risk of long-term water shortages is no surprise for Atlantans, as the topic of water shortages has been on everyone's mind for awhile now. In fact in the wake of the 2007 drought, it would appear that Atlanta and its downstream neighbors are all too aware of the risks of water shortages. Exacerbating the seemingly impossible task of quenching the thirst of Atlanta's monstrous and fast growing population is something known as the Tri-State Water War. The neighboring states of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida have been entangled in a water dispute for decades and now Atlanta’s rapid population growth is adding fuel to the fire. In his article, Thirst for Growth, Jefferson Edgens concisely summarizes the inter-state water quarrel in the following manner: “The central issue in this tri-state dispute is how to allocate water resources from these two river basins (the ACF and the Alabama-Coosa-Talapoosa or ACT) in a way that allows further growth in the metropolitan Atlanta region without compromising water quantity and quality for downstream users in Georgia and its Alabama and Florida neighbors…In essence, Georgia is hoarding the water from the downstream states for its own purposes. Somehow, Atlanta and Georgia must share their bountiful water resources with Alabama and Florida” (14). During the 2007 drought, water levels in Lake Lanier dropped by a near-cataclysmic 20 feet, making the prospect of sharing its water with downstream users seem foolish to many Atlantans (Lohr Georgia 1). Lake Lanier is a reservoir that was created via the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ construction of the Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee River in the 1950s. From a water resource perspective, Lake Lanier means everything to Atlanta as it provides 3.5 million of its residents with water each and every day (Lohr Tri-State 1). It also means a lot to the Chattahoochee’s downstream users in southern Georgia, Florida and Alabama. According to NPR news correspondent Kathy Lohr, “Florida is worried about getting enough water for Apalachicola Bay to support its oyster and shrimp industries and Alabama says it needs water to continue the state's growth and to maintain its nuclear plant that supplies power to 1.5 million people” (Tri-State 1).In an effort to save their upstream water supply Florida and Alabama have taken Georgia to federal court on the grounds that it cannot withdraw drinking water from Lake Lanier. In August 2009, a “federal judge ruled that Georgia doesn't have the right to take drinking water from the reservoir and that the Lake Lanier reservoir was built for flood control, navigation and hydropower — not for drinking water” (Lohr Tri-State 1). According to Lohr, “The judge gave the governors three years to negotiate a deal. If they can't, Congress must approve drinking water as an appropriate use, or Georgia must return to the amount it withdrew in the 1970s, when the Atlanta area was only one-third its current size” (Tri-State 1). Understandably, this has many Atlantans nervous and contemplating a future where an already limited resource is on track to become even more scarce. Governor Perdue is currently appealing the ruling and attempting to rekindle the tri-state water negotiations. What other option does Atlanta have? The last time that Atlanta tried to address the issue of not having enough water to support its growing population things didn’t work out so well. Jefferson Edgens notes that, “In the late 1980s Georgia contemplated constructing a new reservoir to serve as another source of water for burgeoning Atlanta’s metropolitan region. But Alabama filed suit to stop the construction of the dam, out of concern for reduced stream flow for their state” (16). A possible solution currently on the table involves “diverting 150 million gallons per day from Lake Allatoona by 2050 to meet Metro-Atlanta’s need” (Edgens 17). Regardless of what becomes of the Tri-State Water War, there is no question that Atlanta should brace itself for a future in which water is a scant commodity. In the face of a fast warming climate and a burgeoning population Atlanta must embrace a city wide water conservation ethic as a means of survival. The city took such a step in 2002 when “newly elected Mayor Shirley Franklin created the Department of Watershed Management, or DWM, to serve as an operational and managerial umbrella ‘for all things water’” (City of Atlanta DWM 4). The DWM has designed and implemented a 50 year master plan for water resource management as a response to Atlanta’s water problems. The organization’s efforts are guided by a water conservation philosophy. In addition to its drought monitoring and community outreach programs, the DWM has made reducing water loss due to old leaky transmission pipes a top priority. The DWM repairs some 25 leaks per day and upwards of 800 a month, where as prior to 2002 there were only 800 leak repairs made all year (City of Atlanta DWM 6). However, according to a NBC 11Alive.com article, “Atlanta is still losing about 17 million gallons of water every day due to leaks” (Atlanta Water Shortage). This has many people pressing the DWM to repair even more leaks per day. Since 2001, the DWM was able to “cut water withdrawal form the Chattahoochee River by 20 % as the population grew by 29 %,” a statistic that is both impressive and a testament to the organization’s commitment to water conservation (City of Atlanta DWM 5). With Atlanta’s uncertain water resource future the DWM has duly taken to conserving the water that it has now. Not surprisingly, some Atlantans are also beginning to voice their concerns over the city's water resource future. In the aftermath of the 2007 drought, a website, www.atlantawatershortage.com, was created as a medium for concerned citizens to blog about, as the name implies, Atlanta's water problems as well as water conservation tactics. This type of citizen-based dialogue will be crucial in helping Atlanta's officials to build up the water conservation mindset among the masses. In conclusion, when analyzing the 50 year survey data in the context of an exploding population and a fast warming climate it is difficult to not feel a little unsettled when contemplating Atlanta’s water resource future. And rightfully so. However, it can’t hurt to have some faith in the abilities of the ingenuity of the DWM and Atlanta’s urban planners and policy makers. Additionally, the potential for a grassroots movement, led by a few concerned citizens that exchange water conservation tips over the internet, to take hold of the city should not be overlooked. Atlantans must figure out their water problems, for there are many people downstream counting on them to do so. Perhaps, DWM Commissioner, Robert Hunter, articulates the situation best in his 2009 Commissioner’s Letter: “As stewards of the significant financial and water resources entrusted to us and as protectors of the environment so critical to Atlantans and all who rely on the Chattahoochee River, we know that our success has meaning far beyond our ability to repair a random leak, replace a broken meter or complete a project. Our utility is the foundation upon which Atlanta can grow and thrive.”Map 1Source: www.atlantaregional.comMap 2Source: www.maps.comFigure 1Figure 2Figure 3Figure 4Figure 5Figure 6Figure 7Works CitedAtlanta Water Shortage. Chad, 2007. Web. 10 Apr. 2010. <http://www.atlantawatershortage.com/>. City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management. Office of the Commissioner. 2009 Annual Report. By Shirley Franklin and Robert Hunter. Atlanta: Department of Watershed Management, 2010. City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, 2010. Web. 3 Apr. 2010. <ttp://www.atlantawatershed.org/pdf/DWM_AR_2009.pdf>. Curry, Judith. Local Warming: Consequences of Climate Change for Atlanta. School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Georgia Institute of Technology, 2004. Web. 3 Apr. 2010. Edgens, Jefferson G. " Thirst for Growth." Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy 16.1 (2001): 14-18. EBSCO. Web. 16 Apr. 2010.Georgakakos, Aris P. Climate Change Assessment for the ACF River Basin. Georgia Water Resources Institute. Georgia Institute of Technology, 11 May 2009. Web. 5 Apr. 2010. Lohr, Kathy. " Georgia Once Prayed For Rain, Now Plans For Drought." Morning Edition. National Public Radio. Washington, DC, 31 Mar. 2010. Npr.org. NPR, 31 Mar. 2010. Web. 31 Mar. 2010. ---. " Tri-State Water Fight Spurs Questions On Growth." All Things Considered. National Public Radio. Washington, DC, 7 Aug. 2009. Npr.org. NPR, 2009. Web. 31 Mar. 2010. " Response of Root Respiration to Changes in Temperature and Its Relevance to Global Warming." Rev. of New Phytologist, Vol. 147, No.1, by Owen K. Atkin, Everard J. Edwards, and Beth R. Loveys. Blackwell 2000: 141-54. Print. Southeast Regional Climate Center. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2007. Web. 12 Mar. 2010. <http://www.sercc.com/>. " Water Resources of Georgia." USGS Georgia Water Science Center. U.S. Department of the Interior: U.S. Geological Survey, 16 Apr. 2010. Web. 16 Apr. 2010. <http://ga.water.usgs.gov/>. <br />