Kundel, a science adviser for the Georgia General Assembly, presented elements of the plan to members of the Rome Rotary Club at their meeting Thursday afternoon.
Drought conditions and growth in the state have left Georgia facing problems of how to preserve and supply water, Kundel told the gathered Rotarians.
Kundel said many of the state’s water problems stem from the location of Atlanta, a large metropolitan area in one of the least water-rich areas of the state.
He said the Chattahoochee River Basin is the least plentiful of any river basin supporting a major metropolitan area in the country, and that lack of water stretches the water resources of the whole state.
In addition, a drought extending from May 1998 to the present has sapped nearly a year’s worth of rainfall across the state. It isn’t known when, if ever, Georgia will return to normal rainfall levels.
“That’s an awful lot of water,” Kundel said.
The legislature has appointed a 23-member study committee, backed by a 50-member advisory committee of scientists, to suggest changes to the state water management regimen.
The committee met last month to vote on some recommendations and to send others for further study.
Kundel said the committee decided that the state-level water management is fine, but the state needs to make improvements in organization at levels beneath the state.
Florida divides the state into separate water management regions. But the diverse geology and numerous river systems found in Georgia make such a system impractical, Kundel said.
The committee will work out the remaining issues and present the plan to the legislature during the next session. Kundel hopes to begin implementing the plan by July 1, 2003.
The suggestions range from issues concerning water rights to approving the transfer of water rights from one party to another and reforming drought provisions.
The plan will be crucial to maintaining and properly using the state’s water resources, Kundel said. “Water resources are critical to the future of Georgia,” he said