Coastal Georgia Regional Water Plan
The Coastal Georgia Regional Water Plan was initially completed in 2011 and subsequently updated in 2017. The plan outlines near-term and long-term strategies to meet water needs through 2050.
The Coastal Georgia Region includes nine counties southeast Georgia. Over the next 35 years, the population of the region is projected to grow by approximately 330,000 residents from approximately 680,000 in 2015 to 1.0 million residents by 2050. Key economic drivers in the region include port, industry, business, tourism, trade, government facilities, and transportation, especially associated with the Brunswick and Savannah Harbors and Interstate 95. Water supplies, wastewater treatment, and related infrastructure will need to be developed and maintained to support these economic drivers. Management of water resources to sustain the unique coastal environment is an important goal of the region.
Groundwater is needed to meet about 62% of the water demands for the region, with surface water meeting 38% of the needs. Thermoelectric energy is a major user of surface water in the region but most of the water withdrawn is returned to the surface water source.
Water resource challenges in the region include: salt water intrusion concerns in the Savannah-Hilton Head area and in the Brunswick area in Glynn Conty; surface water shortfalls during some periods on the Canoochee, Ogeechee, and Satilla Rivers; and water quality challenges associated with low dissolved oxygen in some portions of the region, mos notably the Savannah River Harbor.
Management practices are needed to address these challenges including: water conservation; refining planning information; alternate sources of water supply where groundwater or surface water availability may be limited; maximizing use of existing aquifer; consideration of aquifer storage and recovery; improving/upgrading wastewater treatment; and addressing non-point sources of pollution.