Water Wars: Part 3

By: April Douglas
By: April Douglas

A never ending struggle over water allocation is now playing out in court. It's a three sided argument spanning three states and no one seems willing to budge.

The Apalachicola River runs 107 miles from Lake Seminole south to its namesake Bay at the Gulf of Mexico. Many call this place paradise.

Chattahoochee city manager Lee Garner calls it a "jewel that hasn't been mined yet."

The Jim Woodruff dam forms Lake Seminole and backs up the confluence of the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers down from Georgia and Alabama. It's here the Apalachicola River is born. Both the lake and the river are popular places for fishing.

"The fish here are 100 percent better than any other fish," said Chattahoochee resident James Mitchell.

For more than a decade Alabama, Georgia and Florida have been fighting in and out of court over sharing water between the three rivers: Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and the Flint.

"As Atlanta has grown, wanted to keep large portion of water to satisfy growth issues. Really at the core of the debate," said Congressman Allen Boyd.

Georgia officials argue they need the water for more than Atlanta's urban spread, but for agricultural, recreational and hydropower needs.

The never ending battle over water allocation isn't the only concern for Florida residents living along the Apalachicola.

"I think control dredging should go on," said Garner.

"My hope for next 10 years is dredging to stop and not start again, and less water being held up in Atlanta," said Mitchell.

As it stands, the strife surrounding the bodies of water is tied up in litigation, a sentiment shared by residents of all three states.

Repeat attempts to obtain a statement from Alabama Gov. Bob Riley's office went unanswered.


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