While Atlanta's main water source, Lake Lanier, has sunk 15 feet below desired levels and ordinary families have let their lawns go brown, affluent residents are paying thousands of dollars to hydrogeologists and drilling companies to scout their estates for underground water to draw from whenever they please. The Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness in Atlanta has issued 305 well permits to homeowners and businesses since the beginning of this year -- 36% more than for 2006 and 2007 combined. Homeowners who have obtained permits include film director Tyler Perry and Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine, according to county records. In Raleigh, N.C., 95 permits have been issued this year, compared with 46 last year and 19 in 2006. And Orange County, N.C., which includes Chapel Hill, has had such an influx of applications that it raised the price of a permit 65% to $430 on July 1.
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