Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Water Issue is critical for Rural Georgia Farmers & their viability. Metro Atlanta better look elsewhere to solve their water issue!

Concerns over water here in Georgia is a growing concern for citizens of this state, especially among farmers.

Water concerns have intensified for reasons such as:

Population growth and development that put heavy demands on water availability

Most of Georgia’s growth has occurred in the Metro Atlanta area and, most recently, in suburban counties south of the city. This major metropolitan area’s primary water source is the Chattahoochee River Basin, which is Georgia’s, and the nation’s, smallest watershed supplying such a large population.

Neighboring states Alabama & Florida are suing for greater water access & also include in their suit other rivers entering their borders, as well as the Upper Floridan Aquifer, which underlies a large part of the southern Coastal Plain and is heavily used by agriculture.

These states have much stronger cases to make because they have already have statewide water management plans, while Georgia doesn't.The Georgia Water Coalition, a statewide partnership of 140 community and environmental organizations, is a strong supporter of a plan that maintains water as a public resource and manages water in a sustainable manner for all users.

Georgia farmers, who depend on irrigation to sustain their crops, are concerned about losing their irrigation water to Atlanta. Farmers in Southwest Georgia struggle with sandy, pebbly, quickly draining soil. As a result, irrigation becomes a vital resource to keep the soil moist and fertile.

Atlanta needs to take a hard look at what's happening in the metro area if you ask me.

As the metro area continue to grow, the demand for water will only increase. DuBose Porter recently proposed raising the levels at lake Lanier to two feet to accomodate the water issue facing Metro Atlanta, which sounds like a good idea to me. This is a issue, along with Education, Jobs, Transportation, Ethics will define the statewide elections in november.

Georgia Agriculture is the state's number 1 econimic industry.

Agriculture contributes more than $57 billion, or about 16%, annually to Georgia’s $350 billion economic output.

Georgia’s top ten commodities in order of their rank are broilers, cotton, forestry, peanuts, beef, dairy, hatching layers, horses, greenhouse, and container nursery.

Agriculture has a significant economic impact, especially in the more rural areas of the state. The largest source of farm income in the northern half of the state is commercial broilers. The southern half of the state is predominately row crop agriculture.

Georgia is one of the East Coast’s biggest agriculture states and is the nation’s largest producer of peanuts, poultry and pecans.

Other crops produced in Georgia include apples, berries, cabbage, corn, cotton and cottonseed, cucumbers, grapes, hay, oats, onions, peaches, rye, sorghum grain, soybeans, tobacco, tomatoes, vegetables, watermelons, wheat, and ornamentals, turf grass, and other nursery and greenhouse commodities.

Georgia is the number-one peanut-producing state in the country, accounting for approximately 45 percent of the crop's national acreage and production.

So imagine if water from Rural Georgia is being consumed by the urban sprawl of Metro Atlanta, where does that leave our famrers? Some would go out of business, while others may opt for early retirement. But the biggest impact probably would be on rural communities that rely on agriculture to bring in much needed income to desolate, isolated towns where few industries or business are located to pump money into the local economy. Water is a critical issue for the state & most of all our farmers.

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This is a Rural Blog that provides views & insights from a Conservative Georgia Democrat

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