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Friday, October 8, 2010 - 11:03am

Barnes, Deal Differ on Tri-State Water Approach

The two main contenders for the next governor of Georgia have differing takes on how Georgia should negotiate in the tri-state water dispute.

Democratic candidate Roy Barnes told the AJC after a forum last night Georgia should take a tougher stance against Alabama and contest any new reservoirs that state wants to build.

"And that includes telling Alabama that we have a right to our water and challenging their withdrawals," says Anna Ruth Williams with the Barnes campaign.

Republican Nathan Deal has a softer approach. His campaign manager Brian Robertson questioned the relevance of Alabama’s reservoirs to Georgia’s water supply since they’re down stream.

"Going in there wanting to pick a fight is not constructive because on a federal level, we get out-voted by the Florida and Alabama delegations when they team up against us," says Robertson.

Both candidates said Georgia should conserve water, build more reservoirs and fix leaky infrastructure.

A federal judge ruled last summer Georgia has no right to use Lake Lanier as it's main drinking water source for Atlanta. The ruling calls for Georgia, Alabama and Florida to come up with a water sharing agreement by 2012 or Atlanta faces a cut off.

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