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Now at the same time, almost as if it were in a parallel universe, lawsuits filed by the states were working their way through the court system. What could not be solved by negotiation, the sides reasoned, would have to be resolved through litigation. The only problem with litigation is that in the end, somebody loses, and that is what happened to Georgia. In July, 2009, a federal judge selected to resolve the controversy, ruled that Congress never authorized the use of Lake Lanier for drinking water. And if that were not enough to crush Georgia’s hopes, he gave the states three years to come up with a water sharing agreement or metro Atlanta would have to reduce its withdrawals to 1970s levels. This would leave the region with only about 25 percent of the water it needs and cost Georgia businesses some $26 billion annually. If that happened, Georgia argued, the state would be forced to apply for federal disaster relief. Vowing to take the matter all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court if necessary, Georgia appealed the decision. At the same time, faced with what was described as a “draconian� deadline, the Peach State called for negotiations to reach a solution before the judge’s order went into effect. Alabama and Florida, their position strengthened, agreed to come to the table. Meanwhile, Georgia talked about tapping Lake Allatona as a water source for the region, but that lake, like Lanier, was not created to supply drinking water, and since the water it holds eventually flows into the Coosa River and into Alabama, any withdrawal by Georgia would be challenged. Then the rains came. The fall and winter of 2009 and 2010 were among the wettest on record. The lakes and rivers were full. There was even flooding. And the sense of urgency lessened. So the problem remains. And will remain until the Supreme Court rules, or the states agree, or the metro Atlanta faucets run dry and the “City Too Busy To Hate� will have to find another slogan. Which it will be is anyone’s guess. Hardy H. Jackson can find the funny side of almost any subject.

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