Farmers start metering water use - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Farmers start metering water use

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April 24, 2003

EARLY CO. - We could soon know just how much of the state's water supply farmers are using. Specialists hammered away installing one of Georgia's first propeller flow meters in Early County Thursday. If signed by the governor, a new law will require all of the state's 21 thousand irrigaters to have meters by 2009.

Mike Newberry has heard complaints that farmers are to blame for wells going dry, and wants to put an end to it. "I want to be able to prove how much I'm using, then I'll be able to prove that I am using it as efficiently as possible," he said.

As part of the pilot program, Newberry also received a guide designed specfically for his 150-acre farm to help him conserve water.

The meters run about $1,000 each, which means the state will have to come up with $21 million if it plans to keep its promise to supply the meters free of charge. Farmers applying for new irrigation permits after this summer will have to pay for the meters themselves.

posted at 5:12 p.m. by dave.d'marko@walb.com