Peach State water levels are low -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Peach State water levels are low

May 29, 2007

Newton  --  Forty percent of Georgia's streams, creeks, and rivers are at their lowest levels in the last 30-years.

Levels in the Floridan aquifer are slightly better than conditions during the drought of 2002, but the aquifer remains low for this time of the year.  The United States Geological Survey Georgia Water Science Center in Atlanta is closely monitoring the state's water levels as they continue to drop. 

June is the worst month for water consumption in Georgia, both from a municipal standpoint and from an agricultural standpoint.  Hydrologist are concerned because coming out of May, they already see a record level drop in both surface and ground water levels for Georgia and especially south Georgia.

Water levels in the Flint River between Albany and Newton are low.  It's worse north of Albany and there's concern that it's so low this early in the year.

"We have to be concerned that this early in the season we're seeing levels drop as fast as they are dropping," said Hydrologist Woody Hicks.

Low water levels have stopped the flow along small creeks like the Cooleewahee that feed the Flint River and if conditions persist they could dry up.

"It's alarming right now that we're seeing a lot of our springs not contributing water to the Flint," Hicks said.

The Floridan Aquifer that normally feeds some water into the Flint has dropped as well forcing many with private wells to dig deeper and it's created a reverse process, holding onto water normally fed to the Flint.

"We're seeing some signs that we maybe losing water from the Flint into some of our springs in this river reach between Albany and Newton, so that's particularly alarming this time of year," Hicks said.

While rainfall could help recharge the Floridan Aquifer near Dougherty County fairly quickly.

 "Any amount of rain will recharge the aquifer quite rapidly," said Ground Water Specialist Elliott Jones of the USGS.

It may take longer for areas like Tifton and Colquitt County to recover because the Floridan Aquifer is buried deeper underground forcing many to extend wells.

"The water levels in the Floridan aquifer have been on a continuous decline for 20 or more years and they are not recharged as quickly as in the Albany area or the Dougherty plain area," said Jones.

Over the last three days county water officials say that they have seen a five hundred thousand gallon a day reduction in public water usage.

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