Water Wars Update: When Georgia and Florida finally had the opportunity to argue their cases in front of the US Supreme Court, several justices appeared sympathetic to Florida. Meanwhile, in a brief on the matter, Atlanta asserted that the Supreme Court shouldn’t even attempt to help Florida because the benefits of the environment are often too vague to be valued.
A reliable and predictable source of drinking water is a major problem for metro Atlanta. So much so that we’ve engaged in a costly 20-plus year legal battle with states that, on paper, we should get along with swimmingly. And now, like bickering school-aged siblings, we’re pleading to our neutral third-party parents to settle the dispute. And like parents of bickering school-aged siblings, the United States Supreme Court will likely create an inadequate resolution for all parties.
Politically the mountain west states (Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Utah) are very similar to southeastern states. Both place a high emphasis on local land use control and generally prefer a more libertarian approach to such regulation. But as population increases in both areas of the country, un-checked development is fueling the growth and severity of wildfires and straining the ability of rivers to provide adequate water supplies. Many states in the southeast, including Georgia and Florida, have already recognized the need for state-wide regulations that cross local jurisdictional borders and now Colorado seems to be coming to the same realization. The next steps in the southeast are to pressure other states to adopt state-wide regulations and to foster the growth of regional, inter-state regulations and guidelines.
The disorganization in how to handle the disagreement between Florida, Georgia, and Alabama over water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Water Basin (ACF Basin) was made apparent again today in an article from the […]
Oysters vs. Atlanta; How Exactly Will the Supreme Court Decide How to Divide Water in the ACF Basin?
This is the third part of a four part piece on the ongoing Tri-State Water Wars. This part focuses on how the US Supreme Court will reach an apportionment decision and the fourth part […]
This is just to name the major legal players. Countless other people are impacted by how water is allocated in the ACF Basin, though they may not have legal standing to bring suit. The waters have extensive recreational and aesthetic value, which serve both economic and emotional purposes. The unpredictable flow of the Chattahoochee River and rise and fall of Lake Lanier hurts the economic interest of adjacent landowners and recreational outfitters. Countless individuals use the waters of the ACF Basin for boating, fishing, and other recreational purposes. These are just the economic uses. An un-quantifiable value lies in the sheer beauty of the area. People buy and rent homes in the area for the aesthetic value. People hike, bird-watch, and camp in the area for the aesthetic value. These incidental users have largely been reduced to the sidelines as state leaders continually fail to reach compromise.
Last September the Denver Post reported on the growing need to find solutions to prevent wildfires that have become increasingly devastating. Not only are the fires causing huge economic losses for homeowners […]