The agency has enough control over the flow of water that there might not be any increase in the water that reaches Florida even if the court were to cap Georgia's use of water from the Flint River, special master Ralph Lancaster found. The Corps could decide to store more water in its Chattahoochee reservoirs and cancel out any increases from the Flint River, Lancaster found.
The states' battle over water use dates back to 1990, and includes drawn-out negotiations and several lawsuits. Alabama, which has the Chattahoochee on its eastern border, is not part of the current lawsuit.
For the tiny historic town of Apalachicola, the fight before the Supreme Court is more than some arcane legal struggle over water rights. Apalachicola wants to rescue its oyster industry, which collapsed in 2012 because of decreased flows in the river, Lancaster found in his report to the court last year.
The oyster harvest in the waters near Apalachicola plummeted from more than 3 million pounds in 2012 to just under 400,000 pounds in 2016, according to data collected by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
"It's probably the most important thing in a century for Apalachicola," said Pat Floyd, who has been city attorney since the 1980s.
"This is the best ecosystem and the most pure water body in the Northern Hemisphere," said Floyd. "So is that something worth giving away without a fight? ... If we can make a dent and get the fresh water down here, this can revive and populate the oysters the way they have been."
Carolyn White, a former nurse who moved from Athens, Georgia, 13 years and now volunteers at the museum, said she often talks to visitors from Georgia who don't understand the gravity of the water dispute.
"People come and visit us from Atlanta and they love water pills help u lose weight here," White said. "They don't understand that what's going upstream is affecting us down here."
Florida's legal fight hasn't been cheap. Since Gov. Rick Scott gave the green light in 2013 to take the case to the Supreme Court, the state has spent nearly $60 million on legal fees.
"For 26 years and under five gubernatorial administrations, Florida has been fighting for its fair share of water on behalf of the families and jobs at risk in Apalachicola Bay due to Georgia's reckless water use," McKinley Lewis, Scott's deputy communications director, said. Georgia officials declined to comment.
The Supreme Court decision isn't likely to be the final word in the conflict, said Gil Rogers, director of the Georgia and Alabama offices of the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Rogers, whose group is not part of the case, said the Corps has to be part of any long-term solution. "It's a complex river system that's got a lot of pressure on water pills help u lose weight from a lot of different uses," Rogers said.
Sherman reported from Washington.
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