Our neighbors to the south are claiming victory in a longtime fight over water from Lake Lanier. Florida claims Georgia is using too much water and Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court sent the case back to the judge who heard details in this decade long battle.
“Florida's claims are that Georgia is using too much water in the metro Atlanta area where the Chattahoochee flows through the city and then down into the Flint River they are over consuming water for cultural operations in Georgia," said a spokesperson with Chattahoochee River Keepers.
As a result, the state of Florida sued Georgia and so began the water wars. In 2017, a special master recommended the case be dismissed but Wednesday the Supreme Court ruled in the contrary.
“Essentially the Supreme Court is saying the special master recommendation to dismiss the case in wrong and they need to continue the case so they need to hear more evidence and make an ultimate finding on whether there is a remedy as solution on how we share these waters,” said Kevin Jeselnic with Chattahoochee River Keepers.
In response to the ruling, Governor Deal issued this statement:I look forward to continuing to defend our position in this case….I remain committed to making every effort to defend Georgia’s water resources for our current and future citizens.On the other hand, Florida's Governor Rick Scott responded sayingToday's ruling is a huge win for the entire state of Florida. As governor, protecting the families whose livelihoods rely on the Apalachicola Bay has been a top priority.But Gil Rogers with the Southern Environmental Law Center says the ruling could mean more than just going back to court.
“The Supreme Court decision mean Georgia could potentially have to limit the amount of water that is used for farming in southwest Georgia in a way that they have not done historically, so that could have significant impacts," said Rogers. "Atlanta also get it's drinking water from this system.. and some speculate that negative ruling in this case could result in water restrictions for the area."
The state of Georgia has spent $30 million defending this case and Florida has spent significantly more.
Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.