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ATLANTA (AP) - Gov. Nathan Deal says Georgia lawmakers need to pass a plan that could limit water withdrawals by farmers in the Flint River basin during droughts.

Deal endorsed legislation Wednesday that his administration says makes clear that state officials can restrict farmers from taking water when it's put into waterways to prevent threatened wildlife from perishing.

The Republican governor said that adding the water keeps federal officials from imposing even tougher water restrictions on farmers.

Opponents say the authority could be used for other purposes. For example, a group of lobbyists and developers earlier proposed building pumps that could send water from the Flint River to Florida, possibly easing a long-running water dispute with that state.

The legislation stalled last year in the House, and Deal wants it passed soon.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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