Cooperative spirit bodes well for all

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 19, 2003

The ceremony Friday in Suffolk dedicating the four-mile water pipeline linking Lake Meade and Lake Prince in Suffolk was huge event, one in which Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Isle of Wight officials should take pride.

The pipeline was conceived just over a year ago in the midst of one of the most severe droughts the state has ever seen, after Portsmouth’s water levels fell to about 54 percent less than average. When the need arises again, the pipeline assures Portsmouth a steady, reliable water supply.

But more than that, the event yesterday was a wonderful demonstration of regional cooperation, which will be central to Hampton Roads moving forward in the decades to come.


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That communities need to help one another may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not a given.

Take the situation that had raged for a decade between the city of Atlanta and the states of Georgia, Florida and Alabama over Atlanta taking water from Lake Lanier.

In throwing out an agreement that would have allowed metro Atlanta to take as much as 50 percent more water from the lake without the consent of the states, U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre wrote: &uot;For over (13) years, the residents of these three states have watched helplessly as their natural resources have been volleyed back and forth as a legal and political football.&uot;

Those states need to realize what local officials know. Their fortunes are intrinsically tied to that of their neighbors and that petty jealousies or past wrongs must be set aside in order to allow progress to occur.

The spirit of cooperation exhibited on the pipeline project should bode well for future collaborative efforts that will be required.