Here in the southeastern corner of the U.S., we’ve had beautiful weather for the past year or so. Beautiful for people who enjoy doing things outdoors — from sports and camping to picnics and walking the dog. Sunshine and little-to-no precipitation.
The downside to all that sunshine and lack of precipitation is… the lack of precipitation. Plants need water, businesses need water, and of course people need water. For the Atlanta area, most of that water comes from Lake Lanier — or it’s supposed to. Families and businesses using water, the lake not being refilled by rainfall — well, you can figure out the problem. There are also politics involved, of course, as some large quantity of water’s pumped from Lanier to Florida and Alabama communities, as well as environmental issues.
Anyway… every day we hear news reports about the water shortage, about ways to conserve and what restrictions are in place (there’s been no washing of cars or watering of plants in many months).
It didn’t really “come alive” though until I actually saw a dry lake bed. Here’s a cruddy cameraphone picture of Lake Ackworth. There’s a tiny creek in the middle, but looks like you could easily walk from one side of the lake to another.
But hey, Ackworth’s a pretty small lake. What’s Lake Lanier really looking like these days?
Take a look at Mary Alice Park, a 12-acre peninsula on the western shore of Lake Lanier about three miles northwest of Buford Dam and two miles east of Cumming. Notice the sandbar and how far it is from the shore — it’s normally separated from the land by almost 200 yards (182m) of water. I’m not sure when this satellite picture was taken, but it wasn’t this summer.
Here’s what it looks like today. This photo is taken from the shoreline, looking to the east toward that sandbar with the small tree.
Here’s a view from the sandbar — yes, I walked out there — looking back toward the boat ramps and docks
Speaking of the boat ramps, they don’t even reach the edge of the water these days.
I’ll leave you with one final picture from Mary Alice Park. I wasn’t the only person out enjoying the day; this guy and I kept passing each other as we wandered from park to park looking at the lake.
[later, Part 2]