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Atlanta area developed itself out of ample water

The drought has people all a-dither because of the-sky-is-falling warnings that we will soon be out of drinking water.

A drought is a difficult thing for reporters to talk about because there has never been a documented case of a reporter dying of thirst. It should also be noted there has never been documented evidence of a reporter being seen actually drinking water. The only time a reporter drinks water is when the ice melts.

Finding ways to conserve water is the big item on everyone's menu, but it may be time to really think outside the icebox.

We know making snow is a no-no, but no one has said anything about the misuse of ice. How about the Thrashers? How much water is being turned into ice for bad hockey instead of ice for good bourbon?

Put the Thrashers on roller skates. It can't hurt their play, and normally the more bourbon you drink, the less ice you use.

We should find one community reservoir, drain away the water and fill it full of gin and tonic. More people drinking gin and tonic will mean fewer people drinking water. And if you drink enough gin and tonic, you can pretty much sleep through a drought.

What about the Georgia Aquarium? They have a lot of water that is doing nothing but providing a place for the fish to play.

Since Gov. Sonny "I'll Shower Tomorrow" Perdue wants everyone to cut back on water use, let the Georgia Aquarium host public bathing with "Come Swim with the Fishes Day."

They could have special swim events like "Swim with the Sharks" for lawyers or "Swim with the Whales" for fat people. Legislators could host "Swim with the Eels," and we could invite all the presidential candidates to town on "Swim with the Box Jellyfish" day.

You could take enemies to the aquarium on "Swim with Concrete" day, sponsored by reruns of "The Sopranos."

Any moment, we can expect a hiring frenzy at the state guvmit level to fill water police positions. The appointed position of COW - Commissioner of Water - will be a $100,000 a year job.

Officers of WIS - Water Investigative Service - will be pulling people over on the roadways to make certain no one has indulged illegally.

"I've been following you for two miles and you're working on a second bottle of water," the officer says.

"No, sir. This is a Budweiser."

"Oh. OK, you're free to go."

It would not be long before we would have new anti-drinking and driving organizations popping up like MADD - Mothers Against Drinking Dasani.

The U.S. Supreme Court would no doubt uphold random roadblocks checking for water violators.

"Sir, I detect the smell of Irish Spring coming from your car. Have you been showering recently?"

"I took a shower after I fell into the septic tank. I thought that was legal."

"Step out of the car and keep your hands away from ... ME."

And people who say their weight problem is the result of "retaining water" could find themselves in jail for hoarding vital resources in time of a crisis. It will change prison hierarchy

"What you in for?"

"Water retention."

"You get the bottom bunk."

Certain crimes may become null and void. A Peeping Tom can argue he was just making sure his shapely neighbor was not showering excessively.

Discussions of important social issues - do you wash your hands every time you go, or how often can you wear something before it must be washed? - will become important roundtable discussions and dominate editorial pages.

Since this is a political issue, we can expect legislators to conduct fact-finding missions - otherwise known as houseboat parties - to various lakes to see how close we are to the bottom. One thing we can have faith in is that come rain or shine, we can depend upon politicians to seek out the bottom.

In the real world, what we hear from half-wit politicians and yahoos is to conserve and the Army Corps of Engineers are responsible for all the difficulties. Only now are some elected leaders acknowledging it may be time to look at the need for more reservoirs. Duh!

Perdue has belched repeatedly the water shortage is a man-made problem with red-tape bureaucracy at the core of the trouble. Perdue is about half right, because the problem is man-made but not by bureaucracy.

The problem is rooted in "leaders" who saw nothing but tax revenue and permitted growth without conscience, those who believed all growth is wonderful no matter what its long-term effect or impact on resources, officials who were so gutless they had not the courage to say no.

It is easier to argue another runway at the monstrosity known as the Atlanta airport or yet another mall is an economic necessity than to acknowledge unplanned, untamed and uncontrolled growth can untimely destroy more than one community. Ask the folks downstream.

We will survive this troubled time. The question becomes: What will we have learned?

Ric Latarski is a senior staff writer for the Citizen newspapers. E-mail him at ric.latarski@rockdalecitizen.com.