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Tennessee River probable topic at annual Lake Lanier Association meeting
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A Tennessee-Georgia border issue that caused a stir a few years ago may resurface at the Lake Lanier Association’s annual meeting Saturday.

The event’s featured speaker will be Brad Carver, an Atlanta lawyer who spearheaded tweaking the state line in an effort to produce more water for Georgia and make it “drought-proof.”

In 2013, the Georgia Senate voted to direct the Attorney General to start litigation if no agreement is reached.

Carver, who couldn’t be reached for comment, “has invested considerable time and effort on issues surrounding the transfer of a small amount of water from the Tennessee River into the watershed that feeds Lake Lanier,” states a Lake Lanier Association invitation about the event at Port Royale Marina in Forsyth County.

“It is intriguing,” LLA Executive Director Joanna Cloud said Monday of Carver’s idea. “We’ve got to look at the costs. I do think that going forward we need to look at additional water supply.”

Carver’s appearance also falls on the heels of a ruling in a U.S. Supreme Court case involving a water-sharing dispute between Georgia and Florida.

In February, Ralph I. Lancaster, a Maine lawyer appointed by justices to preside over the case, rejected Florida’s attempts to set limits on Georgia’s consumption of water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, which includes Lake Lanier in the headwaters.

The ruling is a recommendation to the Supreme Court, which will make the final determination.

Lancaster basically deferred to the Army Corps of Engineers, which is putting final touches on an operating manual for the basin, saying “the Corps can release (or not release) water largely as it sees fit.”

He also slammed Georgia’s upstream agricultural water use, saying it has “been largely unrestrained.”

Cloud noted that Lancaster also had “mentioned investigating out-of-state water supply.”

In an earlier order, Lancaster suggested that Georgia and Florida consider as part of a settlement agreement the “importation of water” from outside the river basin “to supplement streamflow during drought periods.”

Saturday’s event will be far from just a serious discussion about water issues, as it also will feature food and a social time, including a cash bar and door prizes.

“The first two hours are sort of a member social and a meet and great for different vendors,” Cloud said. “The last two hours, from 5-7 p.m., is actually our business meeting, and we expect between 400-500 people.”

Cloud said the group will also be giving an update of the lake over the last year.

Attendees can arrive by boat or car.

“We’ll be on a floating island for this event,” Cloud said. “For the first two hours we’ll have a group called Band on a Boat, and they’ll play from a pontoon boat.”

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Staff writer Kelly Whitmire contributed to this report.