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  Created 9-6-07  
       
 

Many diverse interests and organizations, including the GEC, have come together under the Georgia Water Coalition during the development of the Statewide Water Management Plan, which will be going before the Georgia legislature in early 2008.  Several years, many hours of working on comments, and attending many meetings, have resulted in the draft Water Plan.

   Because the Georgia Water Coalition believes sufficient clean water should be available fairly to all Georgia citizens and ensure a healthy environment, we believe the Water Plan should:
 

 
   

Protect downstream communities. 

¨    Water must continue to flow downstream, so economic vitality can also flow downstream.  Georgia’s leaders have a responsibility to protect downstream communities -- both their water supplies and their ability to grow – just as much as upstream locations. 

¨ More reservoirs and interbasin transfers for water, without balancing return flows, unfairly limit downstream neighbors' reasonable use of our state’s water resources. Such major consumptive uses are not today’s "solutions"; they are tomorrow's problems.

 
       
 

Require efficient water use everywhere, always.

 ¨ Data shows this is the least expensive, most productive solution to water supply problems. Wasteful water use must end because we don’t have the surplus to squander, nor the luxury of allowing some to opt out.  The time of odd-even days as the major tool for water conservation is over. 

 
       
 

Ensure water clean enough to drink and fish safe enough to eat.

 ¨ Georgia currently is investing $19 million dollars to promote tournament fishing. To ensure we don’t throw away this economic opportunity, we must fund and enforce clean water laws already on the books.

 
       
 

Safeguard funds intended to keep water clean.  

¨ Current law says fees collected to protect the environment are to be allocated to fund those activities.  Unfortunately, this does not always happen – and Georgia citizens suffer.  The solution is a constitutional amendment to ensure environmental fees go where they’re supposed to go.

 
       
 

Provide for public input and local action. 

 ¨ The people of the many and diverse regions of Georgia must find the solutions that work best for them. They are entitled to meaningful input in the process of developing their region’s plan and in continued action for clean water.  

 
       
 

The Georgia Water Coalition believes the Water Plan misses the mark in three important ways:
 

 
 

¨ Why aren’t Metro Atlanta and the rest of the state required to play by the same set of rules? The draft plan treats Metro Atlanta differently than the rest of the state, with no limits on the amount of water it gets for adding more and more houses, shopping centers and pavement, allowing it to continue its wasteful misuse of resources.  This business-as-usual approach will limit economic vitality in the rest of the state and will degrade the Metro area’s quality of life.  Growth spurred in this manner also will trigger even more vehicle congestion than the Metro area struggles with today, yet without compensating traffic solutions.

 
       
   

Georgia needs a water plan that unites the state, not one that divides us. 

¨ This plan divides Georgia into communities that will have enough clean water, and those who may not. Rural Georgians will compete with urban cousins; farmers will compete with towns; this generation will be set against the next. 

 
       
 

Without adequate funding, the plan is only a paper tiger, and there is no new funding identified in the plan. 

¨ The draft Plan insists on enforcement of our clean water laws – in some cases, for the first time ever.  New studies are urgently needed to understand our water needs and supplies.  All these, and the development of regional plans, are essential, but costly, steps.

 
       
 

   Georgia’s water is a public resource.  The Georgia Water Coalition believes that it should be managed in the public interest. GWC will do whatever it takes to get a good, responsible water management and conservation plan in Georgia.

 The draft Water Plan can be found at: http://www.gadnr.org/gswp/

 

 

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