Deal encouraged by early talks in water dispute

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal says he plans to focus first on Alabama in trying to resolve a decades-long, tri-state water dispute.

Deal told the members of his water supply task force at their first meeting Monday that he believes issues between Alabama and Georgia may be easier to resolve than the issues involving Florida.

Georgia's neighbors argue that metro Atlanta takes too much water from Lake Lanier, leaving too little for people and businesses downstream and harming shellfish beds fed by Florida's Apalachicola River.

Deal said he's encouraged by preliminary discussions with the other states. But he stressed that Georgia must come up with its own solutions, which is why he formed the task force and has proposed designating $300 million over four years to address the problem.

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