New contract gives Lake Lanier access, confirms water supply

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The contract resolves a dispute that dates back to 2009, when a U.S. District judge ruled that water supply was not an authorized purpose of Lake Lanier and threatened to cut metro Atlanta’s water use in half.

Two years later, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the so-called Magnuson ruling, declaring that Lake Lanier was indeed intended to slake metro Atlanta’s thirst.

Prior to 2017, the corps’ manual was last updated in 1989 and was the subject of legal challenges from both Florida and Alabama. Legal challenges are still pending, and MacGregor said she expects the new contract to bring additional suits.

Still, Katherine Zitsch, managing director of natural resources for the Atlanta Regional Commission said the signed agreement is the “culmination of decades of work.”

“Today is truly a day to celebrate,” she said.

Spokespeople for the state did not respond to emails requesting comment about the agreement. The details of the agreement are still not publicly available.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Feb. 22 will hear oral arguments for the second time in Florida v. Georgia, a long-running dispute related to how much water Georgia uses from the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin.

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