ATLANTA -

The U.S. Supreme Court will not intervene in a tri-state water dispute between Alabama, Georgia and Florida that has threatened the metro Atlanta area's water supply.

The decision Monday by the top court means that a ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta still stands. That appeals court ruling was a significant victory for Atlanta and area communities since a lower judge had earlier threatened to severely restrict the region's access to its main water source.

The appeals court overturned those looming restrictions and ruled that Atlanta has a legal claim to water from a disputed reservoir.

Alabama, Florida and communities in southern Georgia have argued that Atlanta uses too much water, harming wildlife, people and industries downstream.