Feds to Announce if Flow From Georgia Lake Will Be Reduced

ATLANTA (AP) _ Federal officials are expected to announce today
whether the government will reduce the flow of water from a north
Georgia reservoir at the center of a three-state water fight.

The verdict on whether federally protected mussels can live with less of the water that flows from Lake Lanier could allow drought-stricken Georgia to keep more of the water in the drying lake, Atlanta's main water source. If U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists say the mussels need the flow downstream, it will surely enrage Georgia lawmakers.

Hanging in the balance are billions of gallons of water released downstream every day by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which
manages regional water resources.

Georgia Governor Perdue has criticized the federal government for continuing what he calls excessive water releases from north Georgia reservoirs even as the drought threatens Atlanta's water supplies and shrinks lakes and streams to new lows. Florida and Alabama have balked at Georgia's effort to keep more water, arguing that its demands were unreasonable and that reducing the flows downstream could cripple their economies.

Earlier this month, at a three-state water meeting in Washington, the Corps said it wants to temporarily cut the flow of water to Florida by 16 percent until the drought breaks. But the Corps first needs the approval of Fish and Wildlife.

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