An examination of the distribution of Georgia's agricultural water use permits and possible errors resulting from the use of county level permit data for watershed or river basin management practices
Foster, Peter Joseph
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Georgia uses the administrative permitting system to manage surface water and groundwater throughout the state. Under the existing system, permits and associated water-use data are all referenced to one of Georgia’s 159 counties. If the state of Georgia decided to switch its water management approach from a county system to a watershed or river basin system, problems could arise from the utilization of water-use data collected at the county level. The objectives of this study are as follows: First, organize and reference water-use data from the Georgia Agriculture Permitting Database into corresponding watershed and river basin segments. Second, calculate theoretical quantity estimates of county permitted withdrawals using county land area percentages inside each Georgia watershed/river basin and compare these estimates to actual quantities. The results of this study demonstrate that discrepancies between estimates and actual quantities may signal errors resulting from the reorganization of county level water-use data.