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Judge Grants States Confidentiality In Water Dispute

Atlanta, GA – A judge has granted a request from Georgia, Florida and Alabama to keep their negotiations in the long-running regional legal fight over water rights confidential.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson issued a ruling Thursday allowing the states to negotiate privately. He said that confidentiality is often needed in such a ``complicated and inflammatory case.''

Magnuson dealt a stunning blow to Georgia last year by ruling the state has little legal rights to the massive north Georgia reservoir that supplies Atlanta with most of its water.

The judge gave the states three years to reach an accord or risk cutting Georgia off from most of its supply.

The governors met in December and predicted they'd reach a solution in 2010. The three states said this week they have also scheduled at least five more meetings.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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