Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Water Plan Deadline Pushed Back

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Water Plan Deadline Pushed Back

Article excerpt

BRUNSWICK -- The July 1 deadline for imposition of a water

management plan for Southeast Georgia will be rolled back to

allow revisions in the plan and another round of public

hearings, the state Environmental Protection Division said

yesterday.

The first series of public hearings prompted the EPD to

reconsider parts of the 10-year plan that covers 24 counties

closest to the coast, which draw almost exclusively from the

overtaxed Floridan aquifer, said Bill Frechette, principal

geologist for the EPD's Water Resources Management Program.

"We've heard a lot of comments," Frechette said yesterday.

"We're going to have to go back and adapt."

Although their comments varied widely, speakers at the hearings

generally agreed on two points: There is a definite need to

conserve water and someone else should do it, Frechette said.

Becky Shortland, director of coastal programs for The Nature

Conservancy of Georgia, praised the delay, saying it would

provide more time for EPD to come up with a program that would

actually accomplish its goal of preserving the Floridan.

The state's plan for conserving the aquifer hit hardest in a

13-county "sub-area" laid out within the conservation zone. That

sub-area is a rough triangle bordered on the east by the

Atlantic Ocean and within lines running from Glynn County to

Appling County to Chatham and its neighbor Effingham in the

north.

Inside that triangle, county and city water systems were called

on to reduce usage 10 percent per capita while industries would

have to reduce their use of water from the Floridan aquifer by

10 percent.

The burden is made heavier still for Glynn, Chatham, Bryan,

Effingham and Liberty counties, which must offset all new

withdrawals with savings.

Although the goal of the 10-year plan is to cap withdrawals

from the aquifer, mathematics says that is not possible because

reductions are based on per capita standards. …

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