Governor Perdue Signs Bill Authorizing Statewide Water Plan
|Thursday, May 13, 2004||
Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774
LAGRANGE, GA - Standing on the banks of West Point Lake in Troup County, Governor Sonny Perdue signed House Bill 237 authorizing the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to prepare a statewide comprehensive water plan. EPD is to prepare the comprehensive plan by July 1, 2007 in order that it may be reviewed by the General Assembly in 2008.
"As Georgia continues to grow and prosper, it is incumbent upon us to develop a comprehensive statewide plan that addresses our long-term water needs and conservation efforts," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "Water nourishes our environment and is a major driving force of our state's economy."
EPD, along with other state agencies and local governments, has been managing the state's water supply and preparing water plans for decades. As Georgia's population continues to grow and the demands on water resources increase, Georgia requires a comprehensive plan, integrating all of its water management programs.
"People throughout Georgia must work together on a statewide comprehensive water plan," said EPD Director Carol A. Couch. "Population growth and periodic drought have put tremendous strain on our water resources, so there is no time to lose."
The Joint Comprehensive Water Plan Study Committee, under the leadership of Representative Bob Hanner and Senator Hugh Gillis, met over an 18-month period and its recommendations formed the basis for House Bill 237. The Georgia Water Resources Council, formed by Governor Perdue last October, developed the parameters of a comprehensive water plan prior to the 2004 session of the General Assembly.
House Bill 237 provides for a Water Council to guide and direct EPD's efforts. Extensive stakeholder involvement will be necessary for the development of a successful plan. A wide range of water issues will be addressed, including water allocation to farmers, industry and local government. It also seeks to reduce nonpoint source pollution, or run off from the land into streams and lakes. Each geographic area of Georgia has unique water stresses and this plan will provide for complementary regional solutions.