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Georgia river faces significant challenges amidst water rights litigation, P.2

In our last post, we mentioned a recent report by nonprofit organization American Rivers which named the Chattahoochee River as among the most endangered rivers in the country. As we noted, pollution and excessive water use have contributed to the degradation of the river basin. Part of the problem is that there is an interstate debate over water use.

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio recently weighed in on the debate when he criticized Georgia for overusing water from the river basin to supply the needs of the Atlanta metro. Rubio is apparently supporting legislation which would require the governors of Alabama, Florida and Georgia to come to a mutually acceptable agreement regarding water allocation. The bill would eliminate funding for the Army Corp of Engineers until such an agreement is reached. 

The existence of an agreement for the allocation of river water would not only serve to ensure even allocation of the river’s resources, but it would also serve to give the states a way to hold other states accountable for abuse of those resources. It isn’t clear exactly how it would be determined what constitutes even distribution of resources, or what processes would be put in place to ensure it happens. All of that would have to be hashed out, and could get messy.

Water is obviously a precious resource, and misuse of this resource can have a significant impact not only on the environment, but also on local populations. Those who are negatively impacted by misuse of water resources should consult with an experienced attorney to determine their legal options. 

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