The “water war” continues to plague the southeastern states of Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
The three drought-ridden states have been pinned against each other over two river systems that supply water to the Southeast. The problem is that there is not enough water to satisfy each state.
Georgia and Alabama are fighting over control of the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa River Basin.
Florida, Georgia and Alabama are battling over the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, which runs down the Alabama-Georgia border into the Florida coast. Each state has its own reasoning as to why it should be in control of the water system. Florida claims that it needs the water to ensure that the oyster industry in Apalachicola Bay is well preserved. Alabama is most concerned with ensuring a water supply for future economic and population growth. Meanwhile, Georgia, which is the home state to the origin of the rivers, has the right to the water. Georgia officials say that Georgia’s only responsibility is to return the water to the river in the cleanest state possible.
All three states have been struck by drought for the last three years, so compromise is needed.
Calvin Perry, public service assistant at C.M. Stripling Irrigation Research Park with the University of Georgia (UGA), discussed the water issue between the three states. “There is a lot of interest now, with the Supreme Court case going on and with EPD (Environmental Protection Division) contacting growers about various issues. So we do get a lot of questions, and we are happy to work with growers on a demonstration-Extension basis. We love showing growers the technology in person at our facility.”
UGA is one of the leading research facilities on the water issues. “UGA has a number of scientists working on water issues, both here in South Georgia (Tifton and Camilla) and on the main campus in Athens,” says Perry. “UGA is committed to being an unbiased, fact-providing organization to help legislatures and other decision-makers make the best decision on all these issues related to the water wars.”