The Union Recorder

September 7, 2013

ROWLAND: Give ‘em an inch, and they might just take our rivers

Mike Rowland
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Mama and I were recently out for one of our Saturday morning walks, and for the life of me I can’t remember how the conversation began, but we somehow got on the subject of the water war between Georgia, Florida and Alabama. Must have been a slow conversation day around the Rowland house.

In a nutshell the water dispute has to do with the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin, which flows from northwest Georgia south along the border of Alabama and empties into Florida’s Apalachicola Bay.  The Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa basin also begins in northwest Georgia and empties into Alabama’s Mobile Bay. 

The argument focuses on the fact that we seem to want to keep our water because Atlanta is thirsty.  Florida wants our water because it contributes to a healthy shellfish crop in Apalachicola Bay. Alabama wants our water because … well, they are just Alabama.

I am explaining this all to my wife when she finally says, “Why don’t we just annex them into Georgia.  We already own the water. That’ll teach ‘em.”

That reminds me of a story I once heard told by the great Cajun storyteller Justin Wilson. It seems a Cajun and a Texan are talking about everything offered by their respective states. The Texan points out how much better Texas is than Louisiana. They have the biggest of this and the biggest of that. Blah, blah, blah. 

Finally, the Texan says to the Cajun, “But you Cajuns got one thing in Louisiana that I wish we had in Texas.”

“What that is?” replies the Louisianan in perfect Cajun dialect.

“The Mississippi River,” the Texan states emphatically.

The Cajun rubs his chin in thoughtful consideration, and replies to the Texan “I have just the answer.  We will build a pipeline from New Orleans, Louisiana to Houston, Texas. And if you Texans can suck in just one-tenth as much as you can blow out, well you’ll have it in thirty seconds, I’ll guarantee.”

But I digress.

The more I think about the whole annexation thing, the thought of owning Florida really doesn’t appeal to me. We already have Atlantic Ocean frontage, and apparently owning a bay or a gulf is pretty labor intensive. 

It rains every afternoon during the summer, and it never really gets cold enough to kill all of those summer bugs. Besides: We would have to rename the University of Florida something like the University of Really, Really South Georgia. Just doesn’t have much of a ring to it.

Just so you know, Alabama was part of Georgia back in 1783 as was Mississippi. By 1802, we had ceded the land that eventually became both states to the federal government, which might explain a lot if you give it any thought.

At least Alabama has a little sentimental value.

On the bright side, annexing Alabama back into the friendly confines of Georgia heritage would at least give us access to Tuscaloosa. The University of Alabama football team already wears a shade of red, so it wouldn’t be too much of a shock on them ole’ boys when we put ‘em in silver britches and add a little black as an accent color.

And what the heck is a Crimson Tide anyway? And what’s up with an elephant for a mascot? The Mobile Bay doesn’t interest me at all, but telling Nick Saban he’s fired and we’re making bulldogs out of all of his boys has a certain appeal to me.

On second thought, maybe we ought to just leave that as it is. After all, we owe ourselves an SEC Championship rematch.

Needless to say, I don’t have the answer to who gets our water, how much of it they get, or who is responsible if a few shellfish croak. You gotta be careful, however. Give ‘em the Chattahoochee and the next thing you know they will want the Oconee to go along with it!