This legislation seeks to revise the Flint River Drought Protection Act. It calls upon the state to identify opportunities to enhance incentives and programs to support the state agriculture water efficiency measures, pilot projects on irrigation technologies, and identify ways for measuring agricultural uses of water. The bill gives flexibility to the EPD director regarding annual prediction of severe drought conditions. It also adds water efficiency requirements for existing and new agricultural withdrawal permits.
The bill was amended by the Senate to legislate that no well or borehole shall be drilled or used for the purpose of injecting surface water into any aquifer in the state of Georgia. Additionally, another amendment would require EPD to conduct studies to develop actionable baseline information as well as identify drought management actions and funding mechanisms related to return flows to the flint river basin, interbasin transfers of water, reservoir releases, and municipal and industrial water use in the flint river basin.
The House Agriculture Committee passed a substitute to the legislation, restoring the bill to its original form. All amendments introduced and passed by the Senate were removed.