Water Councils forming around Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Water Councils forming around Georgia

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

July 9, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The water supply is a critical issue for Georgians. How much do we have, how much do we use, and how can we better manage it?

Today, people from 14 southwest Georgia counties met to discuss how a water council for the Lower Flint-Ochlockonee Basin will come up with a comprehensive plan for water development and conservation.

All over Georgia, regional councils are forming to have a hand in statewide water planning policies. One of those councils will be from the lower Flint-Ocklockonee Basin. "Ultimately, it's going to boil down to the input that this new entity, they're going to form, this regional water council what they're going to have to say in the state process in water allocation," said Dr. Doug Wilson.

For having only 3% of the state population, southwest Georgia uses an exceptionally high amount of water. "For the number of people," said Wilson, "if you looked at per capita water usage and used all those, we're be really high in the state."

That's because we have about 700,000 acres that need to be irrigated, and that's not a waste considering agriculture is still Georgia's #1 industry. But we do need to make sure it's used in the best way possible.

"What we can do here is utilize the resources that we have most efficiently to the best of our ability, take care of downstream needs. This area of the world is going to play a pretty important part in the Florida, Alabama, Georgia conflict."

Considering that all of those states want the water we have here. Rep. Richard Royal said, "We need to have a long range plan of water usage over the state of Georgia, particularly down here where we have such an abundance of water and everybody wants some of it." The council will help develop a policy over the three next years, and then a policy will be implemented on a state-wide level.

The Governor, Lt. Governor, And House Speaker will appoint people to each regional water forum across the state.

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