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County Tangled in Florida vs. Georgia Water Wars
I4DU Water Wars
Water Wars

Dawson County is directly involved in an ongoing legal battle over water between Georgia and Florida.

It is a battle that has reached the Supreme Court of the United States, with Florida being the plaintiff and Georgia the defendant.

Commission Chair Mike Berg was served a subpoena Jan. 23 to produce documents related to

water usage, storage, conservation, population growth projections, and agricultural water usage in the county.

The county has 90 days from the date of the subpoena, or until March 23, to produce the documents requested.

County Attorney Joey Homans said he plans to respond with two objections.

"I expect we will respond this week," he said. "We'll send our comprehensive plan which will answer some of their questions."

The county's objections are that the subpoena requires Dawson County to produce documents over which it has no control.

"The overboard definition purports to require Dawson County to produce documents maintained and controlled by the City of Dawsonville and/or Etowah Water and Sewer Authority," Homans' response reads, "and Dawson County lacks the authority to control or produce documents in the possession and custody of the City of Dawsonville and Etowah Water and Sewer Authority."

The second objection is that Commission Chair Mike Berg, who was served the subpoena, is not the custodian of records for the county.

Attorneys for Florida are asking Dawson County specifically for 18 documents, including all municipal and industrial consumption data; all agricultural consumption/irrigation data; all conservation data; all cost data; groundwater elevation data, return flow data, storage data, source data, and future water demands among others. Further details of the requested documents are atdawsonadvertiser.com.

"Dawson County is hereby ordered to produce and make available electronically to the State of Florida and its attorneys, or provide by mutually agreed alternative means, the documents within your possession, custody, or control specified," according to the subpoena.

Included in the subpoena are all of the county's "political subdivisions, all quasi-governmental agencies affiliated with Dawson County."

It does not include Etowah Water and Sewer Authority, which is an independent authority.

"Etowah is not a political or administrative arm of the County," Etowah General Manager Brooke Anderson said. "But, if asked, we would be happy to provide any information requested."

Anderson said it is only a matter of time before Etowah is subpoenaed.

"I suspect when we get subpoenaed, and understand the full scope of what we're being asked for, we'll put together a package and our attorney would respond appropriately."

Etowah Water and Sewer Authority is represented by Linda Dunlavy with Dunlavy Law Group in Decatur, Ga. Dunlavy has represented Etowah for six years.

Three weeks ago, Georgia attorneys attempted to shutdown arguments fro the sunshine state that Georgia's increasing population and its demand for water is causing harm to Florida Apalachicola Bay and causing serious declines to its fisheries.

In a 33-page document filed in January with the U.S. Supreme Court, Georgia attorneys rejected those arguments.

The Supreme Court surprised state leaders by agreeing to hear the last-ditch challenge from Florida. It was a rare setback for Georgia, which has won a series of court victories in a flight with Florida and Alabama that began in the 1990s, according to on ajc.com.

Three weeks ago, Georgia attorneys attempted to shut down arguments from the Sunshine State that Georgia's increasing population and its demand for water are causing harm to Florida Apalachicola Bay and causing serious declines to its fisheries.

In a 33-page document filed in January with the U.S. Supreme Court, Georgia attorneys rejected those arguments.

The Supreme Court surprised state leaders by agreeing to hear the last-ditch challenge from Florida. It was a rare setback for Georgia, which has won a series of court victories in a flight with Florida and Alabama that began in the 1990s, according toajc.com.

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