Glenn Cox, a fifth-generation farmer, guides his boat up the Flint River.
Photo: Brant Sanderlin
Photo: Brant Sanderlin

Water wars' focus on agriculture has farmers guarding every drop

Glenn Cox zips up the rain-swollen Flint River on an aluminum skiff marveling at nature’s gifts — the cypress, sycamores and white oaks on the banks, the turtles sunning on the rocks and the water, especially the water, that makes all this abundance possible.

“This,” says Cox, a fifth-generation farmer, slowing to a crawl and pointing at the churning, brown river, “is what we live on.”

The Flint is part of a web of streams, reservoirs and underground lakes that city dwellers, industries, endangered species and oystermen downstream in Florida claim as their birthright, too. Florida’s latest “water wars” lawsuit against Georgia currently before the U.S. Supreme Court takes direct legal aim — for the first time — at the region’s farmers who collectively use more water than metro Atlanta.

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