Estimating Return Flows in North Georgia- A GIS Based Approach
Sample, David J.
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Water supplies in northern Georgia have become increasingly stressed due to rapid population growth and subsequent withdrawals for municipal and industrial (M&I) use. Because of the lack of sewerage infrastructure, much of this new growth will likely be served by decentralized wastewater systems. Due to many factors, including a lack of information regarding location, size, hydrogeologic condition, soils, distance to surface water, distance to groundwater, etc., only cursory assessments of the wastewater return flows and performance of these systems has been performed. Statewide water policy has consistently assumed that these returns are negligible. However, their actual contribution to a basin hydrologic budget remains a possibly open research question. A qualitative, conceptual approach is proposed which integrates the most significant hydrologic processes. A Geographic Information System (GIS) based water budget model is presented and applied to a small, watershed tributary to the Chattahoochee River. Recommendations are then presented for refining the analysis and applying it on a basin scale and evaluating conditions during critical periods.