A report released this week by American Rivers ranks the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basin, the major river system shared between Georgia, Florida and Alabama, as the top most endangered river in the U.S.
In the decades-long tri-state water battle, allocation of water from the ACF basin and the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) basin has been the impetus for the conflict, with all three states citing competing needs for drinking water, agriculture, and fishing and tourism industries.
The report attributes outdated water management policies and wasteful water practices as the biggest threats facing the ACF basin, which flows from northeast Georgia through Atlanta (and serves as the primary drinking water source for the metro area) and along the border of Alabama, finally emptying into Florida's Apalachicola Bay.
As mediation continues behind closed doors between Georgia and Florida in an attempt to settle the dispute over the ACF basin, all three states must understand that efficiency measures and better water management policies are imperative for reaching a sustainable solution, says SELC Senior Attorney Gil Rogers.
“We appreciate that American Rivers is bringing attention to the threats facing this river system, and our hope is that other states will take this as a lesson on the importance of enacting conservation measures and strong water management policies,” said Rogers. “The aim of our ongoing advocacy work in Georgia and Alabama is to better protect these waters and see the states ultimately reach an agreement that ensures there is enough clean water for all water users.”
Click here to read the American Rivers report findings: America’s Most Endangered Rivers.