From The Elbert County News (Jodi Horner):
The purpose of the study was to determine what water sources would be available to the county through 2050.
Forsgren found that Elbert County has 54 million acre-feet of water available right now…
The study found that the rate of use is affecting water availability at a rate of less than 1 percent a year.
In 2018 the demand volume is anticipated at 8,100 acre-feet per year (AFY). By the year 2050 the expected demand is 9,005 AFY.
“Based on population projections by DOLA, the county has enough water for in excess of 300 years,” said County Commissioner Grant Thayer, a retired engineer with experience in reservoir engineering.
When Forsgren assembled information for the case scenarios of how the county might source water in the future, it took into account four variables: agricultural transfers (if a shift in agriculture occurs and how that would impact water supply), non-renewable groundwater, reusable water and imported water.
Koger reiterated that importing water is not the goal at this point.
“It is not easy; it requires an expensive infrastructure,” he said. “It’s much cheaper to drill for water.”
The impact of Douglas County and surrounding areas was brought up several times throughout the evening.
“How can it (the water level) be measured if Douglas County goes crazy and pumps a lot, what does it do to us?” Paul Hunter of Elizabeth asked.
Koger, who lives in Elbert County, agreed that water usage in surrounding areas will impact the water levels beneath Elbert County.
“We are dependent on how quickly people around us use water,” he said.
“Everyone is using the same aquifers,” Koger said, indicating that the study was specifically done to find out how much water the county has available and “project out what the options would be for Elbert County.”
“It’s a planning study — we are finding what looks like a likely future,” Koger explained. “There are so many variables ahead of us — it’s more of a matter of monitoring what’s going on and planning for what we think will happen.”
The Forsgren presentation of the preliminary draft information is available to download from the Elbert County website at http://www.elbertcounty-co.gov.