BRADENTON, Fla. — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said Friday that the state filed a federal suit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for failing to address long-standing water supply issues involving the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa River Basin.
The Atlanta Regional Commission and the Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority, a wholesale supplier, also joined the legal action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, according to a release from the governor's office.
"It's frustrating to find the Corps unwilling to do what it has committed to do in the adjoining Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Basin [in] addressing the issue of additional water supply need at the same time the water control manual is being updated," Deal said in a statement. "Failing to do so in our present situation is not defensible from either a legal or policy perspective."
The ACT Basin has long been the subject of a water war between Georgia, Alabama, and Florida because the watershed provides fresh water for drinking and marine resources to the three states.
In a previous lawsuit, a lower court ruled in 2012 that the Corps should update the ACT Basin's water control manuals that are used to determine withdrawals from federal basins. In doing so, the court opted not to restrict Georgia's ability to withdraw potable water.
One of the largest federal reservoirs is connected to Lake Lanier, a manmade lake that serves the drinking water needs of the Atlanta region.
According to the Atlanta Regional Commission, the ACT Water Control Manual update by the Corps was expected by the end of October.
Instead, Georgia officials said Friday that the Corps has worked toward completing a water control plan for its Allatoona Lake that does not address any of the unresolved water supply requests.
Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens said the state's lawsuit asks the court to require the Corps "to do its job and make a decision."
Georgia's federal suit against the Corps comes days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Nov. 3 that Florida could proceed with a separate lawsuit against Georgia involving the ACT Basin.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has asked the high court to equitably apportionment the basin's water rights because he said Georgia has been allowed to make "unchecked" withdrawals of water from the basin, and those withdrawals are choking north Florida's oyster bays downstream.