WASHINGTON (AP) – Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne says White House-brokered negotiations involving Alabama, Florida and Georgia have failed to produce a water-sharing deal.

In lieu of such an agreement, federal agencies will move forward with developing their own solution, Kempthorne wrote the three governors.

“Regrettably, it will necessarily be a solution being directed to the states instead of our much hoped for solution coming from the states,” he wrote in the letter released Saturday.

Kempthorne said the talks, which began last fall, yielded more progress in three months than at any time during the last 18 years.

“We have achieved some, but not all, of our objectives,” he said.

Kempthorne said it was “unfortunate” the states will move forward with ongoing litigation while the federal agencies proceed.

“It is our hope that developments in the courts will not frustrate further progress in resolving the remaining technical issues we face together,” he said.

The three states have been feuding for nearly two decades over water rights in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint and the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa river basins.

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