Legal Issues of Water Allocation for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin
Draper, Stephen E.
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Allocations for consumptive use of Chattahoochee River waters have led to a myriad of legal issues. Federal and state statutes and case law are conflicting. Complicating the matter are political considerations among the three states involved. The need for identification of the issues has been stimulated by the Corps of Engineers' proposal to divert a portion of the Buford project waters from non-consumptive use in hydropower generation to consumptive use as municipal water supply. The implementation of this proposal will arguably have a significant impact on downstream users. Three questions evolve from the proposal. First, is there an ascertainable limit to consumptive use of Chattahoochee waters and is that limit being approached? Second, what political entities have the power, or the right, to allocate consumptive use of the Chattahoochee River waters? Finally, what are the mechanisms for such allocation and which mechanism will provide equitable allocation amongst the various users? This paper concentrates on answering the last two questions.