Are we running out of water? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Are we running out of water?

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August 3, 2006

Albany -  Are we running out of water? Should you be stocking up? A water resource expert says no.  He says although we shouldn't be wasteful with natural resources, we shouldn't panic either about a problem that doesn't exist.

We're all under statewide water restrictions, only allowed to water on certain days, during certain hours. Rainfall is well below where we should be for the year. The lack of rain has taken a drastic toll on crops, maybe even the condition of your yard. But has it really affected the amount of water available for consumption?

Here's a fact none of us can deny: It hasn't rained much this year, but are we running out of water? "The majority of the state, while we've got an agricultural drought going on, the actual water supply is more than adequate to meet demand," says Doug Wilson, Executive Director of the Georgia Water planning and policy center says the supply may be down, but it isn't out.  He says, "The perception that somehow, if there are water problems anywhere than we must have them, is wrong. It's inaccurate."

Rather, he says the Floridan Aquifer which supplies our water has plenty available, even if we may have to dig a few feet deeper to get to it.  This is a graph that demonstrates just how far underground you need to go until you'll reach water. You can see on years even with average rainfall, it fluctuates, and during a time period when we were in a drought, the lowest we ever got was 45 feet and it bounced right back up just a few months later. "The aquifer recovered to pre-drought levels in about three months, so when it rains, it recovers," says Wilson.

Does that mean you shouldn't worry about conserving water at all? Of course not. Wilson says, "Wise use of the resource and good stewardship is something everybody ought to be practicing. There's no room, on a globe with more than six billion people for waste. That just doesn't make sense anytime."

But what does, is to look at the situation conscientiously and optimistically. "It's not as though the barrel is empty," he says.  The glass is indeed, at least have full in Georgia, not half empty." Wilson adds, "The point is, we're not diminishing, we're not heading toward some end point where it's dry. That's the point."

Wilson acknowledges that some people have wells that have gone dry, but that's just because they need to dig a little deeper. Doug Wilson says Albany has plenty of water in the aquifer's beneath the city and that could be a big selling point to attract major industry to the area.

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