Taxpayers float nearly $30M to cover Georgia water wars costs

Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order this week shifting $3.5 million from his emergency fund to pay the latest tab for the legal feud. That's on top of another $26 million Deal set aside last year for the case's legal fees, according to Deal's office.

Georgia and Florida are awaiting an order from a special master appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve the fight. Ralph Lancaster, who wrapped up the water war trial last month after weeks of testimony, recently ordered the two states back to the negotiating table.

The fight between the two states - plus Alabama, which has been nervously watching the proceedings - involves water flowing from Lake Lanier downstream through Alabama to Florida's Apalachicola Bay.

Deal has recently beefed up the state's legal staff, tapped a water czar and quietly met with his counterparts in Alabama and Florida to potentially discuss a compromise as the courtroom battle escalates. But similar efforts to strike a deal in past years failed to gain any traction.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.