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Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - 4:41pm

Georgia to Appeal Water Ruling

Parties involved in protecting Georgia water rights intend to appeal a ruling earlier this summer that says the Metro Atlanta region cannot depend on Lake Lanier for all of its water needs.

The Atlanta Regional Commission, along with other local governments, will join in the appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

Governor Sonny Perdue spokesman Chris Shrimpf told the newspaper, "We believe that this decision is flawed in several key respects...we look forward to having the Eleventh Circuit closely review those flaws."

On July 17th, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson ruled the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not have the right to draw from the Lanier reservoir to supply drinking water to metro Atlanta's population of more than three million residents.

Magnuson said Georgia, Alabama and Florida have three years to work-out a plan or the taps would be turned off.

Governor Perdue has moved quickly since the ruling. He formed a coalition of water stakeholders to assist in the water fight.

Perdue has also had meetings with separate groups of stakeholders along the Chattahoochee River Basin, and he's sought to arrange face-to-face meetings with neighboring governors.

The 11th Circuit Court has to decide whether the original Magnuson order represents an injunction, which could be appealed.