Flint River expected to key Southwest Georgia economic growth - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Flint River expected to key Southwest Georgia economic growth

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Business and environmental leaders say the Flint River will be a generator for expected industrial growth and economic development in Southwest Georgia in the next few years. Friday these leaders learned why protecting Georgia's water resources is more crucial than ever.

The Institute For Georgia Environmental Leadership brought business, government, and environmental leaders together today in Albany to learn about Southwest Georgia environmental concerns. Water, especially the Flint River, was one of the key issues.

Environmental groups say the Flint River and it's water will be of great value as the expected economic recovery continues. Expanding business and industrial groups are expected to look at areas by the Flint. Including expected huge agricultural growth caused by water loss in the Central California valleys and Midwest.

 Flint Riverkeeper Gordon Rogers said "And those are big ag producing areas. And as those areas wane in their importance to the ag economy this area is going to grow in it's importance to the ag economy."

Business leaders came this week to learn more about South Georgia environment, like Southern Ionics Incorporated, which will soon open a new plant in Pierce County to support two zirconium and titanium mines in Brantley and Charlton Counties.

 Southern Ionics Manager for Environmental Stewardship Jim Renner said "Water is a critical resource during good times and bad. But it is more important as the economy improves. There will be increasing demand for water. And we need to manage it wisely."

Garry Harris of HTS Enterprises gives engineering consultation to the power generation industry. He knows more power for Georgia's growing population will be needed as the economy grows. He says most industries want to be environmental good stewards, because it's just good business.

Harris said "Are committed, genuine, and sincere about taking those resources back to the communities and making a difference. Making those communities greener, cleaner, safer, and healthier."

These business and environmental leaders are looking at ways to protect Georgia's water resources, like the Flint River, knowing that more industries will want to use that water in coming months and years. 

The environmental groups dedicated to protecting the Flint River worry that too many industries and municipalities will try to receive permission to remove water from the Flint River while it is high. They call on state leaders to protect and limit use of Georgia's water resources, because they say they know drought conditions will return.

The Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership in future months will take these business leaders to five areas across the state, concluding at the islands off Georgia's coasts.

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