Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal June 23 announced a $10.5 million investment in the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s oversight of the state water metering program.
The funding, made available through OneGeorgia, will help Georgia’s EPD facilitate program implementation, collaboration with agricultural partners and greater communication with stakeholders, according to a statement released by the governor’s office.
Last December, EPD assumed oversight of the state’s agriculture irrigation metering program, which provides important data for management of the state’s water resources and supports the water conservation efforts of producers. Though several thousand irrigation systems have been successfully metered since 2003, measurement of agricultural water use in all critical areas of the state needs to be completed, according to the governor’s office.
Initially, EPD will prioritize the installation of flow measuring devices at each permitted withdrawal site in the Flint and Suwannee River basins, as recommended by Governor’s Agricultural Permitting Compliance Task Force. EPD plans to rely upon agriculture organizations, water organizations, and/or private professionals to accomplish this work. The governor's office said the EPD and its partners will work closely with agriculture producers as the new meters are installed and the program is implemented.
Deal tapped Marjie Dickey, who grew up on a fifth-generation Georgia peach farm, to fill the role of Agriculture Water Project Manager at EPD, effective July 1.
“This investment is a crucial one for our state as we continue to enhance efforts to manage and protect Georgia’s most valuable resources,” Deal said in a statement. “Marjie has proven herself a valuable asset to my administration and our state, and I am confident her background and expertise will serve the agricultural community and its stakeholders well.”