Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Water Expert Promotes Regional Approach; but Creating Districts Could Be Complicated in South Georgia Because of River Basins' Length

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Water Expert Promotes Regional Approach; but Creating Districts Could Be Complicated in South Georgia Because of River Basins' Length

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVE WILLIAMS, The Times-Union

ATLANTA -- Regional water planning is working so well in the Atlanta area that it should be expanded to South Georgia, the chairman of the 2-year-old metro region's water district said Friday.

Joel Cowan, chairman of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, suggested to a legislative subcommittee that regional water districts be established in the Altamaha and Flint River basins of coastal and Southwest Georgia.

The General Assembly created the metro district in 2001 to look for ways to ensure adequate water quality and quantity in a rapidly growing region facing potential water shortages in the coming decades.

Despite the competition among the district's 16 counties to be on the leading edge of that growth, local-government representatives on the district's board recently were able to reach an agreement on how water should be allocated among the counties through 2030.

Cowan said if county officials across metro Atlanta could achieve a consensus on sharing a finite resource, their counterparts in less populated South Georgia should find the going even easier.

"They're not under a threat," he said. "[But] they will eventually have limits just like we have. Limits involve allocation."

However, water experts from the southern part of the state aren't sure regional districts would work for water planning in their areas because of the sheer length of the river basins. …

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