This story was lost in the commotion of Super Tuesday but it’s certainly bad news for Georgia and metro-Atlanta.
It would take an act of Congress to get more drinking water out of Lake Lanier for metro Atlanta, a federal appellate court ruled Tuesday.
Alabama and Florida immediately declared a major victory in the 18-year, tri-state water war, with Alabama Gov. Bob Riley calling it “one of the most important” legal decisions in his state’s history.
“The ruling invalidates the massive water grab that Georgia tried to pull off,” Riley said in a statement.
The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit comes at a critical juncture, with the three states rushing toward a Feb. 15 deadline to reach a long-term, water-sharing agreement.
Observers say it gives Alabama and Florida leverage in the negotiations and belies metro Atlanta’s assumption that it can count on Lanier to continue fueling its growth. Water from Lanier, the largest federal reservoir on the Chattahoochee River, forms Georgia and Alabama’s southern border and winds up in Gulf of Mexico.