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Georgia prevails over Florida in interstate battle over water rights

The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously sided with Georgia over Florida in a long-running dispute over how to allocate the water from an interstate water basin that is important to the economies of both states.

In an opinion by Justice Amy Coney Barrett in Florida v. Georgia, the court rejected Florida’s request for an order requiring Georgia to reduce its use of water in the Apalachicola River basin.

Florida, the downstream state, argued that Georgia was using more than its fair share, causing insufficient water to reach the Florida panhandle and damaging Florida’s oyster fisheries. Georgia disputed Florida’s evidence and said that Florida’s request for an “equitable apportionment” decree would damage Georgia’s agricultural industry.

A special master appointed by the Supreme Court recommended that Florida’s request be denied, and the justices agreed.

“Florida has not met the exacting standard necessary to warrant the exercise of this Court’s extraordinary authority to control the conduct of a coequal sovereign,” Barrett wrote in the 9-0 opinion.

Check back soon for in-depth analysis of the opinion.

Recommended Citation: James Romoser, Georgia prevails over Florida in interstate battle over water rights, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 1, 2021, 11:13 AM),