Flint River Basin Plan
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why was this Plan originally initiated?
A: Some geologic studies done by the US Geological
Survey suggested that, under conditions of extreme drought and
increased agricultural irrigation the Flint River would “dry
up”, or be seriously affected. In order to prevent this from
happening in the future, the Director of EPD initiated the FRB
Plan in 1999.
Q:What is the status of irrigation permits
in the Flint River Basin? Is there still a moratorium?
A: EPD is not issuing any new permits for irrigation
wells drawing from the Floridan aquifer in the lower Flint River
Basin. This are is known as “Subarea 4”, which is part
of the ACT-ACF river basin. It encompasses most of the lower Flint
River Basin and a small part of the Ochlockonee and Suwannee River
basins. Agricultural groundwater permits are available for other
aquifers in the lower Flint River basin, such as the Claiborne
and Cretaceous aquifers.
No new surface water irrigation permits are being issued for
the entire Flint River Basin from Atlanta to Lake Seminole.
Q: Why is the Floridan aquifer off limits to new irrigation
A: The Flint River and its tributaries in southwest
Georgia are in direct hydraulic connection with the Floridan aquifer,
and receive hundreds of millions of gallons of water from it. Most
wells pull water from the Floridan aquifer. The more water pulled
from the aquifer, the less water seeps into the Flint and its tributaries.
Q: How come farm wells are the only ones under the moratorium?
That doesn’t seem fair.
A: Agricultural water use is by far and away
the largest category of water use in the Flint River Basin. At
the peak of the growing season, farmers in southwest Georgia may
use as much as 2 billion gallons of water per day. In contrast,
industries and municipalities use only 18%
Q: When will the moratorium be lifted?
A: The FRB Plan will be completed in December
2005. By then we will know whether the moratorium can be lifted
in whole, or in part. It is possible that it can be lifted in some
areas and not in others. The FRB Plan will be looking carefully
at the existing distribution of irrigation wells and surface water
pumps, and where people would like to install new ones to see if
parts of the basin are already over-committed or not.
Have a question? Please e-mail your question to the Georgia Environmental
Protection Division at FRBplan@dnr.state.ga.us.