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Florida, Georgia battle it out in court over water-use rights, P.1

| Nov 2, 2016 | Environmental Law |

A legal battle over access to precious water resources is currently underway in a dispute between the states of Florida and Georgia. At issue in the case is the Apalachicola-Cattahoochee-Flint River Basin, a watershed which supplies water to the states of Florida and Georgia, the parties involved in the dispute.

According to the state of Florida, water use in Atlanta and in southwest Georgia has dramatically increased, resulting in lower flows of water into the Apalachicola Bay, causing environmental damage and harming industries dependent on the water supply. The state of Georgia, for its part, denies that its water use is the cause of the problem and argues that reducing its water use will harm the state’s economy.  

Florida is specifically requesting a cap on the state of Georgia’s water use, as well as special restrictions during periods of drought. For its part, the state of Georgia is asking to have the request for a cap denied since Florida cannot provide Georgia’s water use is to blame for the problems, for which there are other plausible explanations. In other words, there is not much room for negotiation between the states.

According to legal commentators, the likelihood of the case resolving long-standing disagreements over water use rights is not great. Chances are that there will be ongoing legal disputes over the matter. One reason for this is that court decisions are not usually flexible enough to address all the factors involved in complex disputes.

We’ll say more about this last point in our next post.

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