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Private, $1.7 M Study Would End Water Wars


Duking it out in the U.S. Supreme Court isn’t the best way to settle a water war between Florida, Alabama and Georgia, says a private group. As Jim Ash reports, ACF Stakeholders is pushing an exhaustive report filled with potential solutions.

ACF Stakeholders is a private group named after the Appalachicola, Chattahootchee, and Flint rivers. The rivers generate electricity in Alabama, sustain an iconic oyster industry in Florida and slake Georgia’s thirst.

Competition for the water has kept the three states tied up in court since 1990. There’s a way to head that off, says group board member Greg Euston.  

“A trans-boundary water management institute is really the best avenue for basin wide cooperation on water issues, particularly on planning and information gathering and it’s also the place to begin conflict resolution.”

Governor Rick Scott’s lawyers want the nation’s highest court to force Georgia to release more water. They say Appalachicola’s crippled oyster industry is at stake .

The report asks the Army Corps of Engineers to jolt the Appalachicola River with two major releases from Lake Lenier in May and July. The report also suggests longer term solutions, Euston says.

“Well the recommendations to the states asks them to continuously work to conserve more water, to track and measure that conservation as well.”

The group raised 1.7 million dollars privately to pay for the five-year study. Its findings aren’t binding.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.