Fresh off a key legal victory in the decades-long water war with Florida, Georgia leaders are scrambling to shore up glaring weaknesses exposed by the litigation while bracing for a new fight in Congress that could undercut the state’s courtroom success.
A judicial official in February urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reject strict new water consumption limits that Georgia said would have devastated the state’s economy, but his findings also highlighted vast problems with the state’s agricultural water use that could dog the state in future court battles.
At the same time, Georgia’s congressional delegation is on guard for another attempt by federal lawmakers from Alabama and Florida to weaken the state’s position. And they are readying for the possibility that the high court ignores the judicial recommendation or calls for a new round of litigation.
For state officials who have already spent roughly $30 million on the litigation in just the last year, the fight is far from over.
“We’ve won one skirmish,” said Gerald Long, president of the Georgia Farm Bureau. “There are many, many battles ahead of us. So we’ve got to be vigilant.”