SCOTUS: Upstream States to Reduce River Usage, Aid Downstream States in Drought

Markel Saez de Jauregui/Flickr (Public Domain)

NASA says droughts are becoming more common, and will continue to be. If that’s true, more lawsuits could follow.

In the U.S., states are taking each other to court over what constitutes fair use of rivers and tributaries. Last week, the Supreme Court ruled in Florida v. Georgia, settling a long-running dispute over three river systems shared among Florida, Georgia and Alabama. The decision could have significant implications for Texas’ water disputes with its neighbors.

John Tracy is the director of the Texas Water Resources Institute at Texas A&M. He says the Supreme Court appointed a special master to handle the case – but it still went to the Supreme Court after the special master declared Georgia was in the right.

“Florida didn’t like the special master’s decision and went straight to the Supreme Court,” he says, “And in a 5-4 decision they came down on the side of Florida and said Georgia can do things to increase flows to Florida during times of drought and that Georgia needs to start undertaking measures to reduce their water use – and in essence provide downstream flows to Florida.”

In cases where an upstream […]

More about upstream/downstream issues:

U.S.A. and Mexico agree to share a shrinking Colorado River

The Valley floor is sinking, and it’s crippling California’s ability to deliver water

What logging does to your water

Iowa’s water quality problems: What you need to know

Article Name
SCOTUS: Upstream States Must Reduce River Usage To Aid Downstream States in Drought
SCOTUS 5-4 decision in Florida v. Georgia: ~ if a downstream state experiences drought conditons, upstream states must conserve water to pass along to them.
Publisher Name
Texas Standard
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