Remaining Water in Lake Lanier Key Question in Tri-state Meeting

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia's Lake Lanier could be within three months of running out of water, or it could still have enough water to last until the summer.

It just depends on who you ask.

State officials say there's about 80 days of drinking water left in the north Georgia reservoir -- which supplies 3 million people with water.

But that figure doesn't include water in the so-called "dead pool," -- inactive storage at the bottom of the lake.

State environmental officials say the pool is below the level of most water system intake pipes, state environmental officials say.

The Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the region's water sources, contends there's about 280 days of water left - with more than half of it stored in the "dead pool."

The argument takes center stage as Georgia fights for a greater share of the region's water supply. Georgia, Florida and Alabama are mired in a tug-of-war over water resources, with the Corps stuck in the middle.

The governors of the three states are heading to Washington tomrrow to lobby for water rights amid a potentially catastrophic drought.

The Bush administration will be asked to decide whether to bolster Georgia's drinking supply or continue releasing water downstream to Alabama and Florida.

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue has long argued the water at the bottom of the lake is "suspect."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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