Florida wants to keep Georgia water withdrawals at 1992 levels when metro Atlanta was home to only half as many people as it is today. Georgia appears to have the upper legal hand. Florida must first prove that Georgia is to blame for its water woes, in particular the damage done by a low-flowing Apalachicola River to oysters and the oyster industry.
Georgia, in its pre-trial briefing filed Thursday, said Florida’s case is without merit serving only to “jeopardize” the state’s economy.
“Accepting Florida’s proposed remedies would thus inflict massive economic injury on Georgia’s farmers and Atlanta’s water supply, without providing any measurable benefit to Florida,” the filing reads. “
Water-using industries across Metro Atlanta — chicken processors, Lockheed Martin, landscapers, utilities — contribute $13.5 billion to the region’s economy, according to Georgia’s legal brief, and employ 50,000. Cotton, peanuts, corn and other crops throughout the Chattahoochee, Flint and Apalachicola regions carried an economic impact of $4 billion.