Thursday, August 10, 2017

Army Corps Addresses Water Wars

A Special Master appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court previously recommended Florida’s claim for relief in the decades-long Water Wars case against Georgia be denied because the Army Corps of Engineers, which controls water flow through the region in a series of dams and reservoirs, was not directly involved in the lawsuit. In its brief, the Army Corps said this week it was possible the Court could impose a water-use cap on Georgia without requiring a change to its policies for handling the dams and reservoirs in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system. As such, it may be possible to design a consumption cap that would provide Florida with additional water at some points without any alteration of the operations. Attorneys for Florida and Georgia tried the case before the Special Master late last year. Florida wants to limit Georgia’s water consumption from the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, including Lake Lanier, to 1992 levels and to get reparations for alleged economic and environmental harm to Apalachicola's oyster fisheries from drought. The dispute focuses on the river basin which drains almost 20,000 square miles in western Georgia, eastern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The Chattahoochee and Flint rivers meet at the Georgia-Florida border to form the Apalachicola, which flows into the bay and the Gulf of Mexico beyond. The states were advised to settle out of court rather than live with a costly decision neither will like, and the Special Master has many times encouraged the sides meet in a good faith effort to reach a framework for settlement. This latest development could be the impetus for a deal. See more here--