ATLANTA — Worried that a drought could be looming, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue said Tuesday the state will sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for draining excessive amounts of water from the state's reservoirs.
Water from Georgia is being sent downstream to Florida to protect endangered sturgeon and mussels. Perdue said the state would seek a temporary restraining order Wednesday to limit the amount of water the Corps could take from lakes along the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River system.
The Corps acknowledged over the weekend that a faulty gauge at Lake Lanier had allowed 22 billion gallons of water to be released by mistake. Carol Couch, director of Georgia's Environmental Protection Division, said the amount of water mistakenly drained would have been enough to support the city of Atlanta for 118 days.
"It is the Corps' responsibility to properly manage the basin and they have failed in their duty," Perdue said. He said talks with the Corps had been fruitless.
A legal complaint filed late Tuesday in federal court in the Northern District of Georgia called the Corps' operating plan "invalid because it involves the release of substantially more water than is prudent."
Pat Robbins, spokesman for the Corps of Engineers' Mobile District, said he could not comment. "We have not seen or heard anything about this," Robbins said.