South Georgia Farmers Concerned Over Water Usage Moratorium

Farmers say they hope the last few wet weeks has pushed the water table back up to a normal level. With a four-year drought behind them and ongoing "water wars" with Alabama and Florida, farmers in south Georgia are trying to conserve water anyway they can, including irrigating their crops at night.

A moratorium on water usage from the flint river basin has farmers in that area stuck between a rock and a hard place, but farmers in other areas say the last few wet weeks may have replenished the water table overall.

Ray Prince, a Grady County farmer, says, "This year we've had a couple of weeks we've had to water some, but up until last week there's been plenty of moisture here."

Burnum Legette Barrett, also a Grady County farmer, says, "We went through four or five real dry years, and then last year was a wet year. This year started out wet and then went dry and now we're back wet again, but I don't fault Mother Nature. She takes care of us."

To stay on the safe side, lawmakers have approved a bill to develop a statewide water management plan, which will be presented to the Legislature in 2008.

State officials say the proposed water management plan will assure the water supply remains adequate for farmers, municipalities, and industries so they won't be so dependent on expensive irrigation techniques.