08 February 2010

Governor Perdue announces Georgia Water Stewardship Act

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue announced the Georgia Water Stewardship Act, Wednesday, 3 February 2010. The bill proposes comprehensive measures to go into effect in July 2012. As may Georgians well know, the water conservation measures from the two past droughts have been unduly born by gardeners and green industry professionals. This proposed bill seeks to spread that out.

The proposed legislation will provide for water efficient building standards, incentives for water providers to upgrade delivery infrastructure, enhanced leak detection measures for water mains, and a task force to
"work on additional contingency supply options", read: not enough alternate sources outside of Lake Lanier. More critical now that the Federal government's position is that metro Atlanta counties do not have rights to draw water from Lake Lanier. Incidentally, the entire Lanier watershed falls on Georgia land.

Many of you are aware of the "Water Wars", the ongoing conflict between Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Tennessee, over rights to the water flowing through the Chattahoochee and Flint River basins. One proposed measure would establish voluntary monitoring to establish objective data concerning the true effects of agricultural irrigation draws from these rivers.

"The final piece of the legislation extends the voluntary agriculture monitoring program to include surface water withdrawals. Farmers around the state have voluntarily agreed to have groundwater withdrawals monitored and the results have disproven many negative assumptions about agricultural water use. Extending this program to surface water withdrawals, from our rivers, streams and lakes, will continue to provide the state critical data that informs not only water negotiations with our neighbors but also our water inventory of sources and uses that Georgia’s Regional Water Councils are currently developing." (State website).

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