Georgia County Government - Fall 2015 - (Page 9)
Georgia's Counties and Our Future Depends
on Wise Use of Water
By Charlotte Nash
contributes to the
vitality of this state
we love and call
home. We all need
each other. And...
if Georgia and our
counties are to
thrive in the future,
we have to figure
out how to share
our precious, finite
Since the moSt recent drought conditions
around the State of Georgia ended a few years ago,
it has become easy for water to drop off the radar
screen. However, the temporary disappearance of
drought conditions does not eliminate the necessity
to address long-term water needs.
In recognition of this, the ACCG Board of Managers
focused on water at its June meeting. We heard from
Judson Turner, Georgia Environmental Protection
Division director, and from Brad Currey with the
Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Stakeholders Inc.
Also, we spent time discussing this crucial issue among
ourselves and trying to understand differing perspectives on water usage.
Listening to the discussion reminded me of the vital
role that county leaders can play in ensuring wise use of
water within Georgia. County officials understand the
critical role that water plays in our daily lives and in the
economic health of our own communities. But, do we
understand how important an adequate water supply
is to other communities? Do we have a good sense of
the impact on the state as a whole if one segment of
the economy falters due to lack of water to sustain it?
Sadly, many Georgians do not know how fundamental agriculture is to Georgia's economy. Most are
unaware that Georgia's chief exports are products of
agriculture, mining and timbering - and some seem
to think that meat grows at the grocery store in a
neat plastic container. Somehow, we need to spread
the word that a large portion of Georgia's economy
depends on agriculture, and agriculture needs water.
Other folks seem to view metro areas as the sole reason for a water crisis. Yes, these areas, especially the
Atlanta region, require a substantial amount of water,
but the state's metro areas are crucial to Georgia's
economy as well.
Bottom-line, every part of Georgia contributes to
the vitality of this state we love and call home. We all
need each other. And if Georgia and our counties are to
thrive in the future, we have to figure out how to share
our precious, finite water resources.
Conserving water - that is, minimizing loss and
use - represents one of the most sensible approaches
to ensuring adequate water for all. It is a fairly simple
idea, but implementation can be difficult and expensive.
Do we really have another viable choice, though?
Water conservation helps balance and satisfy varying water needs across its many uses. As a beginning
point, protecting the biology of the natural systems in
our communities is important. I know that I want my
great-grandchildren to be able to enjoy the critters
that live in a healthy stream and to learn the patience
required to catch a fish. I suspect that you do, too. To
accomplish this, we must see that there is sufficient
water for aquatic life.
The ability to support a growing population and
expansion of agriculture and industry with available water supplies is a key to sustained economic
growth. You can bet that industries looking to expand
or relocate are interested in a community's ability to
assure an uninterrupted and adequate water supply
for their businesses.
Managing human water usage is fundamental
to water conservation. Reducing demand for landscape irrigation through education and pricing is one
way that metropolitan areas have cut water usage.
Encouraging installation of low-flow toilets through
rebate programs is another. It is amazing what just
trading out a portion of old toilets can do. In the
Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District
(MNGWPD), low-flow toilets save about 2.4 million
gallons of water every day. That's 876 million gallons
Aggressive repair and prevention of leaks through
maintenance efforts have proven to be good investments for water systems. Such maintenance programs
can be particularly effective for older systems that have
accumulated a backlog of unmet need.
There is good news to report from many initiatives
that demonstrate we have made a lot of progress in
conserving water and using it wisely. The jurisdictions
in the MNGWPD have reduced water withdrawals
by 10 percent while their aggregate population has
grown by more than one million people since 2000.
Farmers across Georgia are adopting more efficient
irrigation methods, resulting in a lowering of the unit
water requirement for many crops.
However, we cannot stop working now - there is
more to be done. Expect to hear more over the coming
months about water issues and the leadership that
county officials must provide in ensuring an adequate
water supply for Georgia's future.
FALL 2015 www.accg.org
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Fall 2015
Putting the Private Sector to Work for Georgia’s Counties
Military Partnerships with Georgia Counties a Win-Win
Georgia Helps Itself: The Efforts to Provide Funding Alternatives
A New Direction
Rebounding Economy Leads to Reform in Property Tax Law
The Crisis on our Roads: Turning the Tide on Surge in Georgia Traffic Deaths
2015 Legislative Service Award Recipients
Education and Economic Development Go Hand-in-Hand
County Collaborations with Local Schools Save Money, Improve Efficiency
Georgia’s Technical Colleges: Where Business and Education Intersect
Welcome to 191 Peachtree, ACC G's New Home
Georgia County Internship Program: Summer Success Stories
ACCG Heads to Jekyll Island for the Legislative Leadership Conference
I, You, Me, and We
Reducing In-the-Line-of Duty Deaths with Below 100 Train the Trainer
“Her Majesty” Instills Valuable Lessons: Lessons learned from the Hancock County Courthouse Fire
Thank You to our Partners
Why Can’t We Just Keep It All? The Case for Records & Information Management
Social Media and the Dog Tags
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - Fall 2015