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Work nearing finish on state water plan
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Work on the statewide water management plan is nearing an end, and a final document is expected to be ready by the end of the year.

The state enacted the statewide water management planning act in 2004 that called for ensuring sustainable levels of available water for use.

“Sustainable will become the key word,” Savanah and Ogeechee river basin watershed protection chief Jeff Larson said. “Sustainable is something you don’t impact.”

The state can use the drought as an object lesson for how to do things better, he said.

Much of the planning for future water resources will be done on a regional basis.

“That’s where you guys come up with your water conservation and water development plans,” Larson said.

The draft has been through statewide, basin and technical advisory committees and the water council also has received public comments throughout the process.

“This thing has been vetted,” he said. “There is so much work put into this thing.”

The third draft of the plan will be out shortly, meaning Georgia Water Council representatives will be touring the state again for another round of public hearings. After that, the final draft will be prepared and is scheduled to be finished in time for the council to adopt it on Dec. 21.

The plan will then be submitted to the General Assembly on the first day of its 2008 session.

“Collectively, time is leaking away,” Larson said.

The statewide water plan entails an integrated water policy, with water quantity and quality as key components, “everything to do with water resource assessments and management practices,” Larson said.

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