More Water For Atlanta?
Washington, DC – A federal judge has approved a contract that will allow the metro-Atlanta area to take more water from the Chattahoochee River basin. It's the latest round in a legal battle that pits Georgia against Alabama, Florida as well as a number of their own residents.
The contract with the US Army Corps of Engineers will allow metro-Atlanta to draw more water from Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River in exchange for assistance with the upkeep of a dam on the upper stretch of the river.
The Atlanta Regional Commission says the contract would supply water to the area for another 10 years. But the water won't be flowing anytime soon. Georgia officials must now head back to a federal court in Birmingham, where Alabama and Florida sued to block the contract in 1990. The two states says allowing Atlanta to draw more water from the river basin will harm their downstream interests, which include the famed oyster beds of Apalachicola Bay. Columbus and some other Georgia communities are also opposing the contract, saying their water resources are being sacrificed for the sake of metro-Atlanta.
The Birmingham court has shown a distaste for the water contract, because it was drawn up in secret negotiations that excluded Alabama and Florida.