Florida v. Georgia

This original action concerns the proper apportionment of water from an interstate river basin. Three rivers form the heart of the Basin. The Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers begin near Atlanta, flow south through Georgia, and ultimately converge at Lake Seminole, just north of Florida, where the Apalachicola River begins and flows 106 miles south into the Gulf of Mexico. In 2013, Florida, the downstream State, sued Georgia, the upstream State, asking the Court to issue a decree equitably apportioning the Basin’s waters. The Court agreed to exercise its original jurisdiction and appointed a Special Master. The United States declined to waive its sovereign immunity from suit in the case. After conducting lengthy evidentiary proceedings, the Master submitted a Report recommending that the Court dismiss Florida’s complaint. That recommendation, the parties agree, turns on a single issue—namely, whether Florida met its initial burden in respect to redressability. The Master concluded that Florida failed to make the requisite showing because it did not present clear and convincing evidence that its injuries could be redressed by a decree capping Georgia’s upstream water consumption if the decree does not also bind the Corps. Florida has filed exceptions to the Master’s Report.Florida v. Georgia