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Monday, August 17, 2009 - 10:34am

Delegation Talks Water at Governor's Mansion

Georgia's congressional delegation says it's working to draft legislation to address a ruling that could restrict metro Atlanta from its main water supply.

After a meeting at Governor Sonny Perdue's Atlanta mansion, the lawmakers said they want to write a proposal that earns support from Alabama and Florida, the two other states involved in the long-running legal dispute. Rep. David Scott, a Democrat, said he and his colleagues will meet with delegations from neighboring states when Congress returns to Washington next month.

It’s the first time the state’s Congressional representatives have sat down together to discuss a recent ruling by a federal judge that metro Atlanta has no legal right to Lake Lanier.

Water for three million people is at stake.

The judge gave Georgia three years to get Congressional approval to take water from the federal reservoir. Georgia has spent two decades locked in a water-sharing battle with Alabama and Florida.

A spokesman for Governor Sonny Perdue’s says Georgia isn’t asking Congress to solve the entire water dispute. But Georgia does need Congress to authorize Lake Lanier as a drinking water source.

Meanwhile, Georgia will continue to try for negotiations with the other states.

Also today in the longstanding tri-state water war, a federal judge in Birmingham held a hearing over legal battles regarding Lake Alatoona. “Abnormally Dry” is the rating the U.S. Drought Monitor gives nearly half of Georgia.

Forty-four percent of the state gets the yellow shaded color on the organization’s website. That covers mostly central Georgia all the way north, except the far north/northwestern areas along the North Carolina and Tennessee borders.

In June, after heavy spring rains, Georgia officially declared an end to a historic three-year drought.

A link to a map of Georgia's drought regions can be found here.