U.S. Water News Online
MIAMI -- The governors of Florida, Georgia and Alabama have
signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the sharing of water
from the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint rivers.
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and Georgia Gov.
Sonny Perdue each signed the memorandum, which details the principles
of their agreement on how to allocate water from the three-river
basin over the next four decades.
``Twelve years is far too long a time for these critical water
issues to go unresolved,'' Perdue said.
The Chattahoochee flows from Atlanta to Columbus, Ga., forming the
Alabama-Georgia border south of that point. The Flint forms south of
Atlanta, flows southwest to Lake Seminole and converges with the
Chattahoochee to form the Apalachicola, which flows through the
The basic agreement details how much water would flow south and
sets an expiration date of 2040 for the plan.
``These negotiations reflect our ongoing commitment to protect the
Apalachicola River and Bay,'' Bush said. ``I am hopeful we can
achieve a fair and equitable water allocation for Florida that will
meet the needs of our state.''
David Struhs, Florida's Department of Environmental Protection
Secretary, said the state is happy with the agreement, but wants to
be clear that ``there are some issues still not resolved.''
Struhs said some details, including the agreement's expiration
date, flow minimums and drought plans are of particular importance to
Florida. He attached his concerns to the memorandum of understanding.
``It is especially important that these non-drought flows do not
become targets,'' Struhs said. ``Florida's position is that an
allocation formula cannot allow more water to be taken out of the
system than is currently being negotiated during the term of an
agreement without mutual consent.''
The governors said they plan to have a draft agreement finished by
the end of August. Then, there would be a 60-day public comment
period on the proposal. If the agreement is signed after that period,
the federal government will begin a 255-day comment period.
``We're protecting the future of Florida's Panhandle region,''
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