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State renews water fight with city of Memphis

water2JACKSON — Mississippi officials are renewing allegations that Memphis is stealing water from the state.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused in 2010 to consider a similar claim.

The Commercial Appeal reports that Mississippi is seeking at least $615 million in damages. That’s less than half the previous claim of $1.3 billion.

Mississippi alleges that Memphis’ wells have created “cones of depression” in the water table that suck water from Mississippi into Tennessee. It estimates that Memphis has “forcibly” taken 252 billion gallons of water since 1985.

Memphis, its city-owned utility system and the state of Tennessee filed responses last month. They say Mississippi’s claims contradict science and legal precedent. They also say the aquifer is an interstate resource to which no state can claim ownership without formal apportionment.

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