Water Wars: Part 1

A battle has been brewing for years between Florida, Georgia and Alabama. At the heart of the matter our most basic resource: water. The states can't agree on how to share water from three rivers flowing through their states.

Residents along the Apalachicola River hope the political powerhouses can end this decade old dispute before irreversible damage is done to the river.

There's a dark cloud hanging over the Apalachicola River, one that's been hovering for more than a decade.

"Now what you have is a situation where it is in court system and fighting over water , allocation in court, worst of all worlds, and wanted to avoid this years ago when we set up the compact," Congressman Allen Boyd said.

In 1997, the Apalachicola Chattahoochee-Flint River basin interstate compact was passed by state Legislatures, ratified by U.S. Congress and signed into law by the president.

The compact established a timeline for developing an interstate agreement between Florida, Georgia and Alabama to allocate water from the shared river system. That deadline has come and gone and still no agreement.

For people living along the Apalachicola River, their quality of life is at stake.

Willard Ray Womble shares his memories.

"Earliest memories are with granddaddy camping on the river; I grew up on it."

Ties run deep along this river. Willard Womble is just one of dozens who made childhood memories along the banks. Drew Ramsey reminisces.

"Grew up on it, when [I was two I] remember out here frying fish with grandfather."

The Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers flow into the Florida Panhandle to the Apalachicola Bay, which produces 90 percent of Florida's oysters.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says, "Florida is staying the course and will continue to pursue all available options to protect the state's interest and natural resources over the long-term."

Georgia is also in it for the long haul, fighting to keep and manage water in the Chattahoochee River. In a written statement officials say: "Georgia will continue its lead role in working to increase management practices for the water within its boundaries and to explore opportunities for renewed discussions."


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