Albany-- Southwest Georgia farmers got some good news. After more than five years, a moratorium on new farm-use water permits will soon be lifted.
The Environmental Protection Division implemented a temporary hold in 1999 because of drought conditions. The Flint River Basin Plan was created to find out how much water was being used for agricultural irrigation and if it had a negative impact on the flow of the river.
Scientific studies and a water management plan are complete. Now, there may be a good balance between water conservation and agriculture.
"It's great news. It allows the farming community to get out of that suspension mode that we were in and get back to utilizing what's the best natural resources we have," says Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center Executive Director Doug Wilson.
More than 1,000 farmers are waiting for permits. The permit process will be a little more strict. They'll be granted based on several factors including the requested amount of water.