It's known as the 'tri-state water war' — a battle between Georgia, Alabama and Florida over how Mother Nature's resources are to be divided among them.
Water flowing from the north Georgia mountains winds its way through two river basins that provide water for drinking, recreation, electricity and even fresh water to the three states.
Booming metro Atlanta is able to siphon from both, while Florida and Alabama are left to get by on what remains.
"We have to come up with a situation where all three states win and nobody loses, or we will not be able to have success out of this," Georgia water negotiator Harold Reheis said.
Residents of Florida and Alabama fear their water supply is being sucked up by their sprawling neighbor to the north, and that the consequences will bear negatively on their land and economy.
Weiss Lake, for example, sits in Alabama just across the Georgia border. It is filled with trophy fish that attract thousands of tourists, and generates millions of dollars in revenue.
"You can't take those volumes of water out of a river basin without the effects being astronomical both to the fish, the wildlife and our way of life in general," Jerry Culberson of the Alabama Chamber of Commerce said.
Representatives from the three states hope to settle the feud themselves, otherwise it could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
"These are incredibly important resources here. This is truly a global, biodiversity hot spot," Chattahoochee River keeper Matt Kales said.
"Georgia has the water. We have it until it crosses state lines," he said.
So, the Southeast — a place once thought to have an inexhaustible supply of water is embroiled in a fight over who controls and manages it, a fight that doesn't look like it's going to end any time soon.
"We are gonna fight it with every tooth and nail we can," Culberson said.