U.S. Water News Online
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A new coastal water plan aimed at
combating the saltwater seeping into groundwater aquifers was
unveiled with the hope of protecting the main drinking water supply
for coastal Georgia and parts of South Carolina.
The plan would restrict the amount of water withdrawn in
Savannah's Chatham County and the southern part of neighboring
Effingham County, aiming to reduce the amount of water drawn by at
least 5 million gallons a day by the end of 2008.
Nearby Bryan and Liberty counties, which have been growing at a
rapid rate, can continue to draw water from the upper Floridan
aquifer but any additional use would be limited to 5 million gallons
per day through 2008. And new wells will be restricted in a small
area in Brunswick's Glynn County due to a saltwater plume.
Gov. Sonny Perdue, who announced the plan with the Savannah River
as a backdrop, said it will help Georgia be a "good neighbor" to
South Carolina. The two states have fought over saltwater intrusion.
"You've heard the saying all politics is local," Perdue said. "All
water is local."
The plan is a result of a nine-year study of groundwater use in
the 24-county coastal area. It will require 19 coastal counties to
apply for additional water from the aquifer and set new water
conservation and reuse requirements for the 24-county region.
"By working through the water management actions outlined in the
plan, we are confident the groundwater supply will be protected for
future generations," said Carol Couch, director of the state's
Environmental Protection Division.
In January, South Carolina water officials filed an official
complaint about Georgia's plan to manage fresh water along the coast,
saying the plan could prompt higher water bills and limit development
in Beaufort and Jasper counties.
Georgia officials had argued that development in South Carolina
has caused saltwater to intrude into the aquifer.
Last year, the governors of both states appointed committees to
discuss the issues, hoping to avoid a drawn out court battle like the
one that Florida, Georgia and Alabama fought over the
Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river basin.
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