In a 5-4 split vote, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday sent back to a special master the long-running interstate legal battle over Florida’s claims that Georgia overuses water from the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin.
Florida has asked the Supreme Court to cap Georgia’s use of water pulled from the tri-river basin along the length of the state in order to boost Florida’s water flow into the Apalachicola River and Bay. Florida is seeking a more robust water flow in order to counter ecological harm that the state claims is damaging the Apalachicola oyster industry.
The Chattahoochee River supplies most of metropolitan Atlanta’s drinking water. The Flint River supports South Georgia agriculture, while the Apalachicola River sustains a robust fishing industry centered in Apalachicola Bay. Users of Lake Lanier, Georgia, also want to keep the lake full for recreational enjoyment.
Read the Supreme Court’s full opinion, or click on one of the links below for more details on what’s next.
Ga. Governor Deal “confident” in Georgia’s legal position in ongoing water wars case
Gov. Nathan Deal expressed continued optimism in Georgia’s position in the ongoing water wars case, which the Supreme Court today remanded back to the Special Master.
“Though the Court remanded this case back to the Special Master following a five-week trial, during which the ineffectiveness of draconian caps placed on Georgia’s water use as a solution was demonstrated, I remain confident in the state’s legal position,” said Deal. “Georgia heeded the Special Master’s warning and took legislative action, which is now law, to address his concerns. I look forward to continuing to defend our position in this case. Georgia remains committed to the conservation efforts that make us amicable stewards of our water resources and Attorney General Chris Carr and I remain committed to making every effort to defend Georgia’s water resources for our current and future citizens. We look forward to obtaining a positive ruling on the merits in this case.”
- Supreme Court punts on Florida-Georgia water fight (AJC.com)
- Split Water Wars Ruling Ensures Decadeslong Battle Is Far From Over (National Law Journal)
- Supreme Court finally rules on Florida’s 30-year water war with Georgia (Tampa Bay Times)