Columbus And Phenix City Reach Water Agreement

A seventeen year water battle between Georgia, Alabama, and Florida is still underway, but locally Columbus and Phenix City are taking action during a time of need.

Both cities have now agreed to share water during emergencies.  Under the terms of the agreement both cities will help each other if the need arise.

"Some folks say that we are divided by the river.  I want to say that we are connected by the river.  We have a special relationship with citizens of Phenix City," said Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington.

Right now, Phenix City is replacing 1928 water wells that could lower its water supply in the coming weeks.  So this mutual agreement will step in right away.  "This will allow us in this time of highest demand toward the summer, to draw as we need from Columbus.  We probably will be taking about one million gallons a day," said Phenix City Utilties Director Greg Glass.

The agreement allows each city to take up to eight million gallons of water per day only for emergencies.  "There's a pipe up near Bibb city that goes under the river that connects our two water systems.  Also, down on the south side of town we have connection under our river for waste water system," said Columbus Water Works President Billy Turner.

The two cities say they want to basically work together as the states battle in court.  "We talk about war being states in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.  However, for us Columbus and Phenix City share this same water source, so for us we are engaged in this together.  We are not fighting each other," said Phenix City Mayor Jeff Hardin.

The current water main connection between the two water systems will be tested about every two months to insure it's ready if a disaster happens.  Leaders from both cities were on hand for the presentation Thursday morning.