One Man's Water Is Another's Outrage

A man whose mansion uses 60 times the average usage has Ga. neighbors steamed.

Nov. 10, 2007 — -- Like much of the region, the southeastern city of Atlanta remains in the fierce grip of a drought that has continued to strangle the area's water supply for months.

But as many residents are trying to curb and conserve their water usage, one 14,000-square-foot property in suburban Atlanta has clocked more than 60 times water the average household uses.

Neighbors are outraged that the man, who lives in his five bedroom, seven bathroom home alone, has used enough water to fill a dozen standard swimming pools, while the rest of the city is so thirsty for water.

"I think it's absurd. I really do," said resident Ken Scott.

In fact, last month Chris Carlos used 15 percent more water than he did in October 2006, fueling more frustration.

"I understand everybody's anxiety, outrage," said Kathy Nguyen, of the Cobb County Water System. "It's impacting people on so many levels."

The tensions come because the region is down 17 inches in rainfall, currently, and its main reservoir, Lake Lanier is down 17 feet. Its low levels threaten to leave the area without drinking water if the arid conditions continue.

"Unfortunately, we find ourselves challenged to the point now where we have to make some tough decisions," said Georgia Gov. Sonny Purdue.

And while outdoor watering is forbidden, the Carlos lawn remains lush, causing some to wonder if he has broken any regulations.

But, the water department said it has no proof he has broken any regulations and has no authority to stop him.

It also admits the planned rate hikes, which would increase water rates more than 70 percent next year, probably wouldn't prevent Carlos from using less water either.

Georgians already have been asked to conserve 10 percent while they are in the water crisis and Purdue plans to host a prayer meeting next week to ask for more rain.

Other plans for Atlanta include trucking water in from Kentucky for the Centennial ice-skating rink and Purdue announced Wednesday plans to hold a faith service on Tuesday in order to pray for more rain.

A secular group Friday, however, said it would protest the governor's planned prayer service because it violates the separation of church and state, according to The Associated Press.

And Georgia isn't the only state feeling the pinch. One Orme, Tenn. already ran out of water last month and now has water shipped in from an outside source. The mayor turns the water on for a mere three hours a day.