Dry Southeast States Nearer To Water Deal

<p>The governors of Florida, Alabama and Georgia have come to a tentative agreement on how to divvy up the water supplied by shared rivers, giving hope that the 17-year water rights battle between the states may soon come to an end.</p>
December 18, 2007, 2pm PST | Nate Berg
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After five hours of "brutally candid" negotiations, the governors of Florida, Georgia and Alabama struck a tentative deal Monday in a 17-year battle over shared rivers.

"They agreed, at least temporarily, to shelve a plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to bolster Atlanta's water supply by reducing the flow to Florida."

"And instead of suing each other, the three states will send teams of river experts to Washington in January to hash out a new plan for sharing water. The plan should be complete by February and approved by federal officials by March 15."

"The ongoing water war, intensified by this year's crippling drought across the Southeast, has pitted Atlanta's burgeoning $5-billion economy against Florida's $200-million seafood industry. So far the seafood industry has been losing, McLain said."

"So the corps' proposal to cut back the flow even further 'was like a sword hanging over the Apalachicola Bay oystermen's heads,' McLain said. Stopping that cutback, even temporarily, is good news, he said."

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Published on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 in The St. Petersburg Times
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