A special master appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court finished hearing arguments Thursday in a high-profile legal battle about divvying up water in a river system shared by Florida and Georgia, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Special Master Ralph Lancaster said he could rule by Christmas, with the dispute then going back to the Supreme Court. The Journal-Constitution also reported that Lancaster implored the states to settle the long-running fight about water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin.
“Finally, please settle this blasted thing,” Lancaster said, according to the Journal-Constitution. “I can guarantee at least one of you will be unhappy with my recommendation and, perhaps, both of you. You can’t both be winners. But you can both be losers.”
Florida sued Georgia in 2013, contending that Georgia’s over-consumption of water had reduced freshwater flows from the top of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, near metro Atlanta, to the Florida Panhandle.
Florida contends that has damaged Apalachicola Bay in Franklin County, which is heavily reliant on the seafood industry.