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Sunday, March 24, 2013 - 6:02am

Fight Over Flint River Plan

A plan to send extra water down creeks and streams in southwest Georgia is creating conflict in the General Assembly.

The emerging conflict is between government officials seeking a bargaining chip in a tri-state water dispute and environmentalists concerned the plan undercuts water rights.

Legislation put forward by Georgia's Environmental Protection Division would allow the state government and others to invest in augmentation projects, or pumps that send water from underground aquifers into waterways when flows run dry. The bill focuses on water use in the lower Flint River.

State officials said the bill is about protecting farmers and preventing litigation over wildlife. But funding documents show backers envision a system where extra water put into southwest Georgia would be traded for greater water use for metro Atlanta.