The Army Corps of Engineers, under pressure from Alabama Gov. Bob Riley for drought-relief, announced today they will increase water releases from Allatoona Lake in Georgia at the headwaters of the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) river system.
In a statement, Corps spokesman Pat Robbins in Mobile says the amount will be increased by approximately 200 cubic feet per second.
The Corps says rainfall that has occurred over the last week will allow the release of additional water from Allatoona Lake.
The Corps also will grant a 10% reduction in the required minimum flow from Alabama Power Company projects above Montgomery.
Riley says,"The decision by the Corps represents an important step in the right direction of equitable managment of the water in the federal resevoirs in the midst of this unprecedented drought."
Alabama's governor goes on to say that even though everyone is hurting because of the drought, it isn't fair that Alabama bear more than its fair share of the burden.
The announcement came after Riley accused the Corps of illegally withholding the water releases.
Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue says the US government already is releasing too much water from Lake Allatoona. He says Riley's request for higher releases would drain Lake Allatoona and give Alabama little drought relief.
Perdue made the comments in a letter to US Army Secretary Pete Geren, who was also contacted by Riley.
Perdue says because of the drought, officials must be careful not to deplete the storage in Lake Allatoona.
Georgia and Alabama have waged a legal battle since 1990 over the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa River Basin that flows from northwest Georgia to Mobile Bay in Alabama.
A federal judge in Birmingham is overseeing the case.
Riley has said the Corps has "shortchanged" his state 18 billion gallons of water from Allatoona.
The Corps says Allatoona can hold about 120 billion gallons.
Perdue says the Corps has sent 8.4 billion gallons of water downstream to Alabama since June from Allatoona and Carters Lake, a smaller reservoir on the Coosawatee River.