Supreme Court won't consider tri-state water dispute between Georgia, Alabama, Florida

photo Hyung Seo, of Duluth, enjoys his afternoon fishing near Buford Dam water release facility (background) at Lower Pool Park in Buford on Tuesday, June 28, 2011. That year, a federal appeals court in Atlanta handed Georgia an enormous victory in the tri-state water litigation, overturning rulings by a federal judge that could have had catastrophic consequences for the metro area.

RAY HENRY, Associated Press

ATLANTA - The U.S. Supreme Court will not intervene in a tri-state water dispute between Alabama, Georgia and Florida that has threatened the metro Atlanta area's water supply.

The decision Monday by the top court means that a ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta still stands. That appeals court ruling was a significant victory for Atlanta and area communities since a lower judge had earlier threatened to severely restrict the region's access to its main water source.

The appeals court overturned those looming restrictions and ruled that Atlanta has a legal claim to water from a disputed reservoir.

Alabama, Florida and communities in southern Georgia have argued that Atlanta uses too much water, harming wildlife, people and industries downstream.