Georgia County Government - Fall 2015 - (Page 9)

PresIdent's messAGe Georgia's Counties and Our Future Depends on Wise Use of Water By Charlotte Nash President >> 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. 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 a year! 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 9

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - Fall 2015

President’s Message
Director’s Desk
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
Conference Agenda
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