Albany -- With the rainfall deficit already reaching about 8 inches in South Georgia, many people are worried about another summer of drought in 2008.
Especially farmers, who have invested heavily in crops this growing season. But Georgia Water Policy leaders say South Georgians water supply looks good, and there should be no drought worries in this part of the state.
After two summers of extreme drought in Georgia, and predictions of a third in 2008, water levels in South Georgia are described as good. Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center executive director Doug Wilson said "we're just really blessed."
A check of surface water levels shows creeks in South Georgia are low, but the ground water that provides drinking water for most South Georgians is at 31 feet below land surface. Wilson said "we've got some surface water issues, but the ground water levels, the Floridan Aquifer, the one we talk about here all the time, it's about where it always is."
North Georgians worry about water levels, especially Lake Lanier providing enough for Atlanta, is very real. But Wilson says South Georgia has abundant water, even with farmers having to irrigate heavily now. There are more than 700 thousand acres of irrigated farm land in the Flint River Basin, but Wilson says farmers are good stewards of the resource. Wilson said "it's an expensive input for them. It makes for better crops. It makes for more production. That's good for the region."
Because agriculture is Georgia's number one industry, and it's economic engine. Water Policy leaders say South Georgians don't have to worry about a lack of water for growing crops, or their taps running dry.
Wilson said the only drought concern right now in South Georgia is some creeks running dry, and the federally protected habitat for endangered mussles being challenged.