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Keynote Address to the Florida Irrigation Society\'s 2009 Annual Conference


  • 1. It Cant Happen To Me! Lessons Learned from the Recent Drought in Georgia Ed Klaas, CIC, CLIA, CGIA, EPA WaterSense Partner

2. It Cant Happen To Me! Lessons Learned from the Recent Drought in Georgia Ed Klaas, CIC, CLIA, CGIA, EPA WaterSense Partner Owner/Vice President Business & Legal Affairs Southern Sprinkler Systems, LLC Chair Irrigation Association Contractor Common Interest Group Irrigation Association Ambassador, Region 3 Leader & Georgia State Leader Former President Georgia Irrigation Association Past President Georgia Green Industry Association Irrigation & Water Division Board Member Georgia Water Wise Council 3. With parts of Georgia and the southeastern U.S. just coming out of a record drought, the irrigation and green industries still face unprecedented challenges. Many other factors such as a down economy, increased unemployment, a housing slump, immigration issues and draconian water restrictions have contributed to make this a perfect storm. Learn what the irrigation industry in Georgia has done to combat the issues and how companies in Florida can benefit from the Georgias experiences and responses, both good and bad. 4. 5. Limited Resources 6. Natures Boundaries Georgia Department of Community Affairs 7. Facts About Georgia

  • Largest state east of the Mississippi River
  • Northern quarter is southern highlands
  • Southern half is the coastal plain
  • Most of the population lives in the piedmont
  • ThePiedmont Coastal Plain Fall Linebisects the state.
  • *The Fall Line is the boundary between the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain. Its name arises from the occurrence of waterfalls and rapids that are the inland barriers to navigation on Georgia's major rivers. Thus the cities of Columbus, Macon, Milledgeville, and Augusta developed where boats had to be unloaded on the Chattahoochee, Ocmulgee, Oconee, and Savannah Rivers, respectively. Those waterfalls and rapids occur where the rivers drop off the hard crystalline rocks of the Piedmont onto the more readily eroded sedimentary rocks of the Coastal Plain.

8. Georgia Water Facts

  • North of the fall line - primarily surface water
    • Drainage basin for Lake Lanier 1,040 sq. miles.
  • South of the fall line - primarily ground water
  • 1.5 million acres under irrigation, primarily in southwest Georgia

9. Georgias Water

  • Most of GAs water sources originate inside the state.
  • Alabama and Florida also depend on these water sources.

10. Georgia Water Sources

  • 80% of our water comes from surface water and 20% comes from ground water withdrawals.
  • In the Atlanta region, 85% comes from surface water withdrawals with more than half originating from the Chattahoochee River.

11. Georgias Water

  • 9.5 million people depend on a clean water supply.
  • The population is increasing by more than 2.2% a year making GA the 5 thfastest growing state in the nation.
  • 8th largest state in population 2006 National Drought Mitigation Center 12. Water Issues Vary

  • North Georgiais concerned with surface water availability for continued growth and development
  • Coastal and Southeast Georgiaare affected by growth and by salt water intrusion into the aquifers
  • Southwest Georgiais concerned with agricultural withdrawals and ground and surface water issues
  • Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa( ACT ) andApalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint( ACF ) river basins are the focus of the tri-state Water Wars

13. We Depend onClean Water Daily!

  • 372 billion gallons/day in the U.S.
  • 5.8 billion gallons/day in Georgia
    • 2.7 billion gallons for:
      • public supply and private wells (47%)
      • agriculture (28%)
      • industrial activities (25%)
    • 3.1 billion gallons for:
      • electric power generation

14. Atlantas Water Supply Needs

  • Lake Lanier provides 72% of the water supply for the metropolitan Atlanta area

15. Lake Lanier Atlantas Main Water Supply Reservoir on the Chattahoochee River 16. NESPAL GA EPD 23/77 Pumping averages 2.3 Bgals/day, andabout 1.0 Bgals/day in the Flint River Basin. 17. Population Pressures 18. Population GrowthDrives Water Demand U.S. POPClock Projection According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the resident population of the United States, projected to 07/17/09 at 14:30 GMT (EST+5) is307,002,938 COMPONENT SETTINGS FOR JULY 2009 One birth every.................................. 7 seconds One death every................................ 13 seconds One international migrant (net) every 35 seconds Net gain of one person every......... 11 seconds 19. Societal Changes in Georgia

  • Rapid population growth starting after World War II
    • Accelerated growth since 1980
      • 1960 Metro Atlanta about 1 million
      • 1960 State of Georgia about 4.3 million
      • 2008 Metro Atlanta over 4.5 million
      • 2008 State of Georgia over 9.5 million

20. "Yankees in Georgia! How did they ever get in Miss Pittypat to Dr. Meade 21. 22. Societal Changes in Georgia

  • Rapid population growth starting after World War II
    • Accelerated growth since 1980
    • Growth has be unevenly distributed
      • Along the coast
      • Northern Piedmont top of the water shed

23. Societal Changes in Georgia

  • Rapid population growth starting after World War II
  • Landscape changes
    • Urban sprawl changes in the watershed flow patterns
    • Conversion of row crop fields to forest (started in 1920s)

24. Societal Changes in Georgia

  • Rapid population growth starting after World War II
  • Landscape changes
  • Agricultural Changes
    • Shift in amount of land in row crops and trees
    • Increase in irrigation
    • Increase in urban agriculture the green industry


  • Continuing growth, development and population increases in many areas are straining existing water supplies
  • Local governments and adjacent states are competing for available water sources
  • Indoor and outdoor water conservation is still not widely practiced in Georgia
  • Then there is the issue of drought!

A Water Crisis? Yes! 26. A Primer on Drought in Georgia 27. Summary of the Past

  • Droughts are a normal component of the climate system
  • They have occurred in the past and will in the future
  • The problem is that we have more people but the same amount or less of water and we use more of it per capita than in the past

28. Tree Ring Evidence of Georgia Droughts

  • Long-term Droughts lasting 3 or more years
    • 1756-1760
    • 1762-1764
    • 1797-1802
    • 1855-1857
    • 1896-1899
    • 1925-1927
    • 1954-1956
    • 1998-2002
    • 2006- 2009
    • ?

29. The Current Drought

  • Started in March 2006
  • Intensified in early spring 2007
  • Cause Currently Unknown
    • Winter 2006/07 El Nino Winter/Spring
    • Winter 2007/08 La Nina Winter/Spring
    • Not evidence for or against climate change

30. Drought in Georgia

  • Surface water flows were greatly reduced
  • Reservoir storage was almost depleted
  • Groundwater has been lowered, wells have dried up
  • Soil moisture is still low.
  • Crops have been affected

31. A once-in-a-century droughtin the Southeast 32. Were in the throes of a drought thats never been seen in history, Jack Dozier, executive director of the Georgia Association of Water Professionals, said during a 2008 symposium. And its going to get worse before it gets better. 33. 34. Rainfall 12 Months 35. Rainfall - 12 Months 36. Rainfall 24 Months 37. Soil Moisture 38. More people are using more water, demand for freshwater resources are increasing,while supply is not 39. Georgia is not alone. 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013, even under non-drough


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