FAYETTEVILLE, Georgia (Los Angeles Times) – In this southern suburb of Atlanta, the lawns skirting the million-dollar homes are lush, and the swimming pools full.
But farther south, the Flint River has thinned into mud flats at a time of year when surges of white water would normally be crashing over boulders in the riverbed.
Depending on whom you ask, Georgia is doing fine, or it's suffering from historic drought.
Georgians have gotten a swift education: Since 1999, the state has spent more years in drought than in normal conditions. Federal maps show that more than half of Georgia is now in extreme or exceptional drought, at a time when 70% of the country is experiencing abnormal aridity.
But the state's relentless experience with drought has created ambivalence among residents and policymakers about how to cope with it, hinting at problems other states may have to face if their droughts drag on or recur with troubling regularity.
Environmentalists, scientists and farmers point to places like the Flint, as well as reservoir levels and stream and rainfall data as proof of drought. Republican Gov. Nathan Deal and much of the business community contend that there is no drought. Unlike his predecessor, Deal has yet to declare one.