Dr. Carol Couch, as Director of the EPD, is also the head of the Georgia Water Council which published its draft State Water Plan in June. I was (and still am) concerned about, not only the proposed plan, but the way Georgia is going to get a water plan, want it or not.The 2004 Act which mandates develop of the plan, also provides that if the legislature doesn’t pass some plan, then the one proposed by the Water Council becomes law by default. I neither like nor understand laws like that.
The main thing I wanted to ask Dr. Couch concerned interbasin piping. Interbasin piping takes water from one drainage basin and pumps it to another drainage basin. Why? I assume because development, growth, business, wants to use more water than is available in a particular location. According to Dr. Couch there is no such thing as interbasin piping in Georgia. It doesn’t happen and isn’t likely to happen. That’s encouraging!
And for those who worry about their water being sent off to Atlanta, according to Dr. Couch it is already illegal to pipe water in the Atlanta Metro Area.
There are interbasin transfers (apparently a lot of them) which generally occur when a city, such as Atlanta and others, grow and develop in more than one drainage basin. Water would be withdrawn from one basin for use (drinking, yard, sewage) and ends up being discharged (water treatment plant) into a diffierent basin. As I understand it, the goal is to try and minimize such transfers from becoming worse and maybe even reverse the process in some areas.
There are a lot of issues when it comes to water and water use. South Georgia sits on the Floridan aquifer and has plenty of water (don’t tell anyone!), but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be managed, conserved and protected. Above the fall line, most water usage comes from surface water: rivers, lakes and reservoirs. According to Dr. Couch we have plenty of water available, just not necessarily in the place people need it or want it.
Water is a complicated issue and I certainly do not have a handle on it. (I think we are still at war with Alabama and Florida over water.) I just put in a new well to water my yard and I felt a little guilty until the octogenarian drilling the well told me there was and always would be plenty of water, at least in Georgia south of the fall line. He also told me somthing like this: it takes 100 years for the subterranean water in the limestone to flow from Macon to Vidalia. Now that is some slow moving water!
You might want to listen to my interview a few months ago with Gordon Rogers, the Executive Director of the Satilla Riverkeeper. I also discussed it with Senate Majority Leader Tommie Williams just after the plan was unveiled.
If you really want to participate you can register on the Water Council website and submit your own comments and suggestions.