Water conservation plan to help South GA farmers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Water conservation plan to help South GA farmers

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May 2, 2008

Valdosta - Last years drought sent a clear message to everyone in the state.  We take our water for granted.

While the drought affected everyone, farmers were hit the worse.  But now there's a conservation plan that hopes to prevent a water shortage in the future.

Ellis Black has dug three water reservoir pits on his farm.  "We have an abundance of water in Georgia. Our problem is not lack of water. It's limitation of water storage."

These pits do just that. They collect rainwater and in a pinch can ease the demand for water from the Georgia aquifer. Not to mention water his crops through another drought.

But digging a pond is no easy job. And it doesn't come cheap.  "

To generate the water to be able to have it as a reliable irrigation source, most the time you have to build dams to get bigger reservoir,' Black says.  "I've known people to spend 150 thousand or so just to build a dam."

Congressman Kingston hopes to change that. He's secured more than $2.5 million to help farmers build more ponds and improve their existing ones. 

"We have worked very hard to secure these funds and I know that they will be put to good use," Congressman Kingston said.  "With the draught conditions of recent years it is important to find sensible solutions that not only help Georgia farmers, but preserve our natural resources."

Projects that will help both now and in the future.  "What we are doing here is long range. Investments that benefits not just the property owner. Anytime we can increase the storage capacity on this track of land, then it impacts everything down stream from it," Black adds.

The money, available through the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission, could pay up to 75% of the cost or up to $50,000.

Money that will aid farmers down the line and help the state perverse their most precious natural resource.

The program is available to most landowners in South Georgia.

Information about the conservation program is available at any USDA Service Center.

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