Is Alabama Getting Ready to Re-enter the Water Wars?

Ever since the 11th circuit Court of Appeals overturned a judicial ruling that would have greatly limited Atlanta’s water use, Alabama has pretty much retreated from the 25 year old battle of how to best allocate water along the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basins. But, in a meeting of the Alabama Water Resources Commission yesterday, Alabama’s lawyer in the fight accused Cobb County of taking too much water out of Lake Allatoona.

Cobb County’s Water Authority disputes the charge, claiming that Alabama is using too narrow a view of how much water Cobb could draw from the lake, although it admitted it had taken too much out in the past.

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions advocated putting a clause in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act legislation that would have required Congressional approval for any changes in water allocation for the basin. His measure failed to make it into the final bill, which is awaiting a House-Senate conference committee.

At the beginning of October, Florida filed suit against Georgia in the U.S. Supreme Court over it’s water use. Will Alabama join the cause?

At the meeting, Water Resources Commission member H.E. “Sonny” Cauthen asked if the state would join in a suit against Georgia because of the Cobb County situation.

“If the abuse is so flagrant, why wouldn’t Alabama join that suit?” he asked.

Lembke said he couldn’t comment, citing attorney-client privilege. Gov. Robert Bentley said earlier in the month that the state wouldn’t join in the Florida suit. Bentley spokesman Jeremy King said Thursday that governor was urging the Corps of Engineers to re-think its proposed water use plan.

Stay tuned.

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