Mapping Agricultural Withdrawal Permits and Irrigated Area in the Lower Flint Basin
Hook, James E.
Blood, Elizabeth R.
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Beginning November 30, 1999, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division (EPD) suspended permitting of new agricultural withdrawals while conducting the Regional Water Development and Conservation Plan for the Lower Flint River and Upper Floridan Aquifer. The plan requires, among other things, an accurate determination of irrigated area in the region affected before permitting or other water management activities can resume. Determination of current irrigated area was initiated through identification of permanent irrigation structures visible on digital orthoquad images from the region. Subsequently, farmers and other permit holders identified which of their permits were associated with mapped fields and drew associated wells, surface pumps, and other irrigated fields directly to onscreen images. Each permittee was provided with documentation that contained an areal image of the permit site and official permit details. The Permit Maps eliminate confusion over which permit is associated with each parcel of land, document ownership during financial transactions, and help establish their water use. EPD was provided a GIS data base with irrigation shape and withdrawal point data layers labeled by permit numbers. The process illustrates how public agencies working cooperatively with water users can provide the action information the agency needs while protecting the rights of the established users.