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Water runs dry in rural Tennessee town

Breaking Earth News
Tennessee, USA
ORME, Tenn., Nov 21 (Reuters) - A small town tucked away in the mountains of southern Tennessee is getting by on just a few hours of water a day because its spring has run dry in the drought sweeping the U.S. Southeast. The worst drought to hit the region in decades prompted Georgia to impose water-use restrictions including a ban on outdoor residential watering. It has also sparked a political battle between Georgia, Alabama and Florida over how to share water from north Georgia's Lake Lanier, which serves cities such as Atlanta as well as industries and a nuclear power plant.

But rural Orme with its population of just 140 people has become a symbol of the drought because few other places appear to have been so directly hit. Each evening, residents wait for Mayor Tony Reames to make the short drive from his home where he keeps chickens up to a water tower on a wooded hill above the town to open a valve. When the water is flowing families can fill buckets and water jars, do laundry, take showers and wash dishes before the faucets run dry and they wait for the next evening.

Resident Julie Hoover described Orme as a "hideaway" and a "piece of heaven" because it was safe and everyone knew each other but she said the water shortage had created serious problems. "People don't like change and they don't like losing their water," said Hoover, who started filling up buckets with water draining from an air-conditioner to get water to flush toilets when the spring ran dry in August.
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