Governors Meet to Discuss Water Woes

The "Water War" began 17 years ago, long before Governors Riley, Perdue, and Crist took office.

Monday, at another gubernatorial summit--this time in Tallahassee, Florida--discussion brought progress and talks of settling the dispute once and for all.

"The first step in this is the kind of conversation that we had today, which was candid and frank and productive," said Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.

With the US Secretary of the Interior guiding the talks, governors outlined the problems faced by each state during severe drought.

"These governors have now stepped forward and have made it clear that they'll resolve the challenges that we face, explained Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Interior.

A proposed comprehensive drought plan may provide the answer, changing a decades-old policy that limits water flow and makes requests for relief take months to accomplish.

Back in Alabama, Governor Bob Riley told reporters the new plan would eliminate the red tape.

"We've gotten it down to the point today where we can do it within a week, and that's what we've needed all along," Riley explained.

The proposal, would create an "automatic triggering system," and quickly provide relief to an area as it slips deeper into a serious drought.

It's the prospect of getting aid quickly that gives Riley hope.

"It gives us the flexibility and the management ability to take care of these reservoirs going forward," he said.

Governor Riley tells WSFA 12 News another meeting will take place in Washington, DC, on January 15th.

Delegates from each state will finalize details on the plan and hand the proposal over to the Army Corps of Engineers by February 15th.

Reporter: Cody Holyoke