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January 19, 2013

S.C. threatens suit in absence of water deal with Ga.

If a South Carolina committee fails to reach an agreement with Georgia this week to slow the spread of saltwater into wells in Beaufort and Jasper counties, the dispute could end up in court.

If a South Carolina committee fails to reach an agreement with Georgia this week to slow the spread of saltwater into wells in Beaufort and Jasper counties, the dispute could end up in court.

“It’s the kind of thing where you’ve either got to have an agreement or you’ve got to sue them,” said Dean Moss of the S.C. Governor’s Savannah River Committee. “There is nobody to compel them to do something other than the courts.”

The states disagree about the amount of water that should be pumped from the Upper Floridan Aquifer to supply the Savannah area. The aquifer is a major source of drinking water in parts of Georgia and South Carolina, according to a study by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Moss declined to say by how much the committee will ask Savannah to reduce its pumping or provide a proposed timetable for those reductions. He did say South Carolina officials would prefer to avoid a lawsuit, which would cost both states time and money.

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