Two Governors, Two Friends Go At It Over Water

It's become a verbal war between the states.

"Alabama is trying to use these insane rules of the fish and wildlife and the Corps of Engineers to dry Georgia up and I won't let it happen," said Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.

"Sonny Perdue is a friend of mine," said Alabama Governor Bob Riley.

That fight is expected to continue in Washington, a meeting between the governors and Florida Governor Charlie Crist and the U.S. Senators from both states, a meeting with the goal of trying to resolve once and for all the water war that started some 20 years ago. Because of the historic drought, Governor Perdue has asked President Bush for a disaster declaration, a move that would allow Governor Perdue to slow the release of a reservoir near the Georgia-Alabama border.

"Everybody needs to understand if our reservoirs are drained there would be no water to send downstream, no water for Atlanta, no water for LaGrange," Governor Perdue said.

"For Georgia to say that Lake Lanier is months away from drying up is completely unsupportive," said Trey Glenn, head of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

Governor Riley has an ally in the fight. Florida Governor Charlie Crist is urging President Bush not to grant Georgia's request, claiming an upstream state shouldn't dictate the water policy of those downstream. Furthermore, jobs are at stake, according to Governor Crist, a point Governor Riley tried to make at the Farley Nuclear Power Plant near Dothan today.

"People will lose their jobs," Governor Riley said.

That meeting in Washington, D.C., is set for next week.

One agency that will closely monitor the meeting very closely is the Montgomery Water and Sanitary Sewer Board.  The board has filed a lawsuit against the Corps of Engineers which is considering reducing water flowing downstream.  WSFA 12 News has learned the city of Mobile is thinking about joining that suit as well.