State Leaders Work on Statewide Water Management Plan

November 3, 2007

As residents continue to comply with restrictions and governors take the water wars to Washington, other state leaders hope to conserve through a long-term solution.

"The main thing we're trying to do or what we're fighting to do is especially those of us south of Atlanta is to ensure that we have adequate water flow," says Rep. Richard Smith (R), Columbus.

Representative Smith is talking about recommendations for a Statewide Water Management Plan.

The plan stems from legislation passed back in 2004, but was never put in place.

The recent water crisis proves its necesssity.

Along with other state leaders and public input, Smith has made several recommendations, they include:

Requiring all counties in urban areas to prohibit septic tanks on parcels of land less than three acres.

Requiring all counties in urban areas to convert septic tank systems to an integrated sewer system in the next five years.

It would also require all communities to return a minimum of 75% of the water they withdraw back to their source.

And put in place a 1% sales tax to help communities reach this goal and to fund the Statewide Water Management Plan.

Smith says making a change is critical for the future.

"It's not a matter of if we're going to have another drought, it's a matter of when it's going to be and you can't wait until you're in the midst of a real water crisis like we are right now to start planning for it."