The acf basin

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The ACF Basin

  • The ACF Basin

  • The ACT Basin

  • Interests of the States

  • History of Litigation

  • Views on Water Supply Rule

Upper Chattahoochee River

  • Upper Chattahoochee River

    • Buford Dam / Lake Lanier
    • Tiny headwaters
    • 2/3 of ACF storage capacity
  • Middle Chattahoochee River

    • Storage: West Point and Walter F. George
    • ROR: Andrews and Woodruff
  • Apalachicola River

  • Flint River (uncontrolled)

Upper Chattahoochee River

  • Upper Chattahoochee River

  • Middle Chattahoochee River

    • Columbus, Georgia
    • 3 major plants
    • Historically, navigation to Columbus and Bainbridge
  • Apalachicola River

    • Oysters, shrimp, etc.
    • Endangered fish & mussels

Water generally abundant

  • Water generally abundant

  • In times of drought:

    • Corps must meet minimum flow at Florida line for species (5,000 cfs)
    • BUT no flow target in Mid-Chatt
    • Flow levels during droughts have endangered withdrawals in Mid-Chatt
      • Exacerbated to the extent flows from relatively large Flint watershed help meet Apalachicola targets


  • Headwaters

    • Carters (Coosawattee River)
    • Allatoona (Etowah River)
  • Coosa River

    • 7 Alabama Power dams
  • Tallapoosa River

    • 4 Alabama Power dams
  • Alabama River

    • R.F. Henry, Millers Ferry, & Claiborne (ROR)


  • Headwaters

  • Coosa River

    • Water quality and quantity issues at the state line
  • Alabama River

(North) Georgia:

  • (North) Georgia:

    • Economic growth of Atlanta and other settlements
    • Groundwater not plentiful
    • Surface water resources are limited

Alabama (and southwestern Georgia):

  • Alabama (and southwestern Georgia):

    • Current and future economic growth
    • Water quality
    • Restore navigation


  • No “project sponsors” in ACF or ACT

  • No compact or regional body

Water withdrawal law:

  • Water withdrawal law:

    • Georgia—generally, permit required for > 100,000 gallons daily average
      • Generally riparian otherwise, plus drought planning
    • Alabama—generally riparian, plus drought planning

  • Just to provide a sense of the amount of litigation in the tri-state water wars…

      • …(some of these cases have been consolidated)

Alabama v. Corps (ACF & ACT)

  • Alabama v. Corps (ACF & ACT)

    • No. 1:90-cv-01331 (N.D. Ala. 1990)
    • Challenging the proposed reallocation of water supply storage
  • Se. Fed. Power Customers (SeFPC) v. Corps (ACF)

    • No. 1:00-cv-02975 (D.D.C. 2000)
    • Challenging the proposed reallocation of water supply storage

Georgia v. Corps (ACF)

  • Georgia v. Corps (ACF)

    • No. 1:06-cv-01473 (N.D. Ga. 2006)
    • Challenging the Interim Operation Plan (IOP) (implementing ESA requirements)
  • Florida v. USFWS (ACF)

    • 4:06-cv-00410 (N.D. Ga. 2006)
    • Challenging Biological Opinion for IOP

City of Columbus v. Corps (ACF)

  • City of Columbus v. Corps (ACF)

    • No. 4:07-cv-00125 (M.D. Ga. 2007)
    • Challenging Corps operations, failure to conduct NEPA analysis
  • City of Apalachicola v. Corps (ACF)

Florida v. Georgia (ACF)

  • Florida v. Georgia (ACF)

    • No. 142 (U.S.S.C. filed 2013)
    • FL seeking equitable apportionment of water & cap on GA consumption - AL not a party
  • Alabama v. Corps (ACF)

    • No. 1:17-cv-00607 (D.D.C. filed 2017)
    • Challenging the environmental analysis for Water Control Manual (WCM) and water supply assessment

Georgia v. Corps, (ACT)

  • Georgia v. Corps, (ACT)

    • No. 1:14-cv-03593 (N.D. Ga. filed 2014)
    • Plaintiffs also include Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC)* and Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority (CCMWA)
      • NWC Member
    • Challenging the ACT WCM; also a FOIA claim

CCMWA v. Corps (ACT)

  • CCMWA v. Corps (ACT)

    • No. 1:17-cv-00400 (N.D. Ga. filed 2017)
    • Challenging the Corps’ storage accounting system at Allatoona Lake

  • Here’s a guess of the positions of upstream and downstream interests

    • Just my speculation – comment deadline still outstanding (Nov. 16, 2017)


  • Upstream:

  • Change current policy

  • Credit return flows and “made” water


  • Upstream:

  • Recognize primacy of states to allocate water


  • Upstream:

  • Flexible withdrawal policies


  • Upstream:

  • Pursue the rule

  • Pricing issues

  • “Equalize” federal customer considerations

  • If I have seemed skeptical that NWC could adopt consensus positions on big issues…

  • …I hope this helps explain why.

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