Ga., Fla., Ala. delegations to discuss water war

WASHINGTON -- For the first time since a federal judge's stunning decision in the tri-state water wars, Georgia's congressional delegation is planning to sit down with all of their counterparts from Florida and Alabama to discuss what to do next.

Led by U.S. Reps. Nathan Deal, a Gainesville Republican, and John Lewis, an Atlanta Democrat, the Georgia delegation has invited Alabama's seven House members and Florida's 25 House members to a meeting Wednesday morning at the U.S. Capitol to discuss the water dispute.

Congressional aides said there was no set agenda for the water meeting. Most of Georgia's 13 representatives in the U.S. House are expected to attend.

A federal judge in July ruled that metro Atlanta is not congressionally authorized to take water from Lake Lanier. Under Judge Paul Magnuson's ruling, Georgia, Florida and Alabama have three years to work out a water-sharing arrangement -- or else Atlanta's allocation of water from Lanier would revert back to 1970s levels.

"We believe the recent court ruling should be a call to action between the three states," Deal and Lewis wrote in a letter to their counterparts from Florida and Alabama. "We feel as though an opportunity for the three delegations to openly express their opinions and positions on this issue would be beneficial."

The meeting is closed to the public and the press.

Other members of Georgia's U.S. House delegation earlier this year tapped Deal and Lewis to lead the negotiations because of their knowledge about water issues and because water from Lanier is vital to their congressional districts.

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