Georgia Wins Latest Round of Water Wars

The dry weather has had a major impact on the water levels on the Apalachicola River.

Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision that could have a more profound effect for decades. The high court rejected, without comment, an appeal from Alabama and Florida in their 16-year dispute with Georgia over water distribution.

The two states were appealing a September 2005 ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which allows the Atlanta area to use more water from Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River than allowed under earlier orders.

It reversed earlier decisions by an Alabama federal district court judge, blocking Atlanta from getting additional water to accommodate growth.

Alabama officials say the ruling could allow Atlanta to take water from the lake and river.

If the ruling stands, Atlanta eventually would be able to take up to 537 million gallons a day, up to 50 percent more water than before.

The Chattahoochee River flows into the Apalachicola River here in northwest Florida.

Florida officials say this ruling could severely threaten the Gulf seafood industry and the health of the Apalachicola River.