Meeting Summary: Upper Oconee Council March 22, 2016
To: Upper Oconee Regional Water Planning Council
From: Dale Jones and Zakiya Seymour, Jacobs
Date: April 15, 2016
Subject: Council Meeting 1 Summary
Upper Oconee Regional Water Planning Council Regional Water Plan Review and Revision Process
This memorandum provides the meeting summary of the Upper Oconee Regional Water Planning Council Meeting 1, held on March 22, 2016 at the Plaza Arts Center in Eatonton, Georgia. The meeting began at 9:33 a.m. There was a brief adjustment to the agenda to accommodate presenter schedules. The Current Agricultural Water Demand Estimate and Method for Updates presentation was adjusted to the timeslot for the Municipal and Industrial Water and Wastewater Forecasts presentation. Additionally, the EPD Section 319(h) Georgia's Nonpoint Source Implementation Grant Funding presentation occurred before lunch and the lunch break was abbreviated.
Welcome and Introductions/Approve Agenda
Chairman Melvin Davis called the meeting to order and thanked members as well as guests for attending. He asked Council Members and guests to introduce themselves (see Page 13 for a list of attendees).
Several of the guests included delegates from other Regional Water Planning Councils:
- Mark Burns (Altamaha Regional Water Planning Council)
- Phil Odum (Coastal Georgia Regional Water Planning Council)
- John Roller (Altamaha Regional Water Planning Council)
Dr. Lebone Moeti (Georgia Environmental Protection Division [EPD]) gave a brief overview of the Planning Contractor team, briefly discussed the Implementation Status Report, described the Council’s role in updating the 2011 plan, as well as the approach for the review and revision process.
Chairman Davis polled the Council Members for a quorum: seven Council Members were present and one Council Member sent a proxy. Chairman Davis stated that there would be no official actions taken at the meeting due to lack of quorum; however, the Council will be able to provide affirmations of material presented and provide general consensus as needed.
The summary developed from the October 2015 meeting was reviewed. No changes or corrections were requested by the Council Members.
This meeting’s agenda was not subjected to a vote as there was no quorum. Chairman Davis stated that Council will not approve the agenda, but noted that the agenda would be followed based upon the adjustments detailed on Page 1. He asked if there were any additional recommended changes to the meeting agenda; there were none.
Chairman Davis provided a brief review of the previous steps taken during the initial water planning process, as well as the Council guidelines developed during the interim process.
Chairman Davis detailed that this meeting is the kickoff of the five-year review and revision process.
At 9:41 a.m., Chairman Davis turned meeting over to Dale Jones (Jacobs [Planning Contractor]) to proceed with the agenda.
Regional Water Planning Overview/Schedule
The Planning Contractor presented the following information:
- Overview of the planning areas, key contacts, and contractors supporting those areas
- Key water planning individuals from Georgia EPD and the Planning Contractor team
- Key elements of the planning process and the timeline for completing these elements and the Upper Oconee Regional Water Plan revision
Question: A Council Member asked about the logistics of the joint meeting.
- Response: The Planning Contractor stated that the joint meeting will be held in Dublin, Georgia sometime in June.
Question: A Council Member asked if all ten councils will be together at the joint meeting.
- Response: All six councils from the eastern section of the state will be together at the joint meeting. The other four councils will have their own joint meeting on a different date.
- Addendum: The meeting has been scheduled for June 23, 2016. It will be held at the DuBose Porter Center, Oconee Fall Line Technical College, 560 Pinehill Road, Dublin, Georgia, 31021.
Chairman Davis indicated that he has a prior commitment on the joint meeting date but that it should not interfere with the timing of the next Upper Oconee Regional Water Planning Council Meeting.
- A summary of the Regional vision and goals with a reminder that these should be kept in mind as new information is developed. The intent is to ensure that the findings during the planning process are consistent with the vision and goals for the Region
Question: The Planning Contractor asked if anything has changed that would require the Council to revisit the vision and goals.
Chairman Davis opened the floor to discussion. As there was no further discussion, there were no changes to the vision and goals.
- The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) executed during the development of the 2011 plan (signed by the Council, EPD, and Georgia Department of Community Affairs [DCA]); the Operating Procedures and Rules for Meetings; and the Council’s Public Involvement Plan.
- Council responsibilities, EPD responsibilities, and DCA responsibilities
- Mechanisms for dissemination of information including emails directly to Council Members as well as GovDelivery, a mechanism for delivery to the public
Addendum - Instructions for subscribing to GovDelivery are as follows:
- Go to the “ Receive Our Email Updates” page on the Georgia State Water Planning Website at: http://www.georgiawaterplanning.org/pages/other/receive_our_email_upda tes.php
- Select the appropriate Regional Water Council link to subscribe. For instance, select “Upper Oconee Regional Water Council” to subscribe to this Council’s updates. This selection will bring up the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ page for email updates.
- Enter your email address in the appropriate space and select “Submit” to sign up for email updates or access subscriber preferences.
Question/Comment: Dr. Moeti mentioned that interested parties can sign up for multiple Councils on GovDelivery.
- As written, the Operating Procedures allows for amendments; EPD is proposing two specific amendments to the Operating Procedures today
Question/Comment: Dr. Moeti noted that they have prepared two documents for Council consideration and provided the Council with a summary of the documents.
- An MOA extension document was discussed. That document, upon execution, will officially extend the agreement and helps address the procedural topic outlined below. EPD noted that for the sake of expediency, if the Council supports the extension it could be signed by the Chair. The Council provided consensus regarding having the Chair sign on behalf of Council.
- A revised version of the Council’s Operating Procedures (Attachment A of the MOA) was discussed. The proposed revisions allow the Council to achieve a quorum for decision-making in light of the status of reappointments and lower meeting attendance. The proposed change defines “active Council Members” as the criteria for determining a quorum.
Question/Comment: A Council Member suggested a change to reduce the numbers of missed consecutive meetings to define “active” council members from three to two.
Question/Comment: A Council Member was concerned that the Council cannot get a quorum to affect this change.
- Response: The Planning Contractor suggested he would work with EPD to get Council Member approval via phone, or by other means following the meeting.
There was general approval for extending the MOA as EPD has proposed, and to adjust the definition of “quorum” to be defined by active members and to exclude those who have missed two or more consecutive Council meetings.
The Council Members in attendance agreed that Chairman Davis could sign the MOA extension on the Council’s behalf.
It was generally agreed that the Operating Procedures proposal is a good approach. It was further agreed that the proposal would go to all Council Members to ensure that they are fully informed and have the opportunity to become active members for the review and revision process.
Chairman Davis discussed advertising for the meeting. Chairman Davis suggested that the meeting notices be sent to the County Clerk’s office prior to the meeting. Previously, the Councils advertised through their legal organ (newspaper designated as such) for each County. The proposed modification is that meeting notification would be sent to each County Clerk to ensure local papers have the meeting notification, but it would not require payment to include advertisement by the legal organs of each County. Chairman Davis noted that this will save money in the long run. He proposed that meeting notifications can go on County websites and will be the responsibility of each County Government to post to the website if they would like to do so, but they not be published in newspapers.
Addendum – Three additional Council Members provided their approvals to the proposed changes to the MOA and Operating Procedures. This additional approval, along with approvals previously provided by the seven Council members in attendance, provides consensus of these proposed changes by a quorum (50 percent plus one) of the Council Members.
Updated Population Projections
The Planning Contractor presented the following information:
- Source of information for updated population projections
- Georgia’s historical population growth over time
- Updated state and regional population projections that also show the comparison to the previous (Round 1) population projections
- The methodology used to perform the population projection updates
- The current population projections are more in line with historic trends. The Planning Contractor noted that the current predicted growth for the state and the Region, while still showing positive growth over time, is not anticipated to increase at the rate that was predicted during Round 1. Round 1 population projections were developed prior to the 2010 Census and represented an unusually high rate of population growth when viewed in a historical context. The Round 1 population projections were influenced by historical levels of in-migration and relatively high birth rates at the time the projections were developed.
- While the state’s population continues to grow, it is important to recognize that the growth is predominantly occurring in urbanized areas and larger cities. Between 2010 and 2013, Census data showed that about half of Georgia’s counties have experienced population declines. The majority of counties with declining population are considered rural counties.
- Overall, the 2010 Census population estimate (i.e., the actual count of the population) for the state was lower than previous (Round 1) 2010 population projections, by approximately 27,000 people. The updated 2050 population projections are approximately 433,000 lower than the previous 2050 population projections.
- Within the Upper Oconee Region, only Putman County had a 2010 Census population count higher than the Round 1 2010 population projections.
Question: A Council Member asked if there were population projections by county.
- Response: The Planning Contractor showed tables detailing county-level population projections for the Round 1 population projections and the updated population projections.
Question/Comment: Chairman Davis requested that the county-level population projections be sent to the Council Members.
- Response: The Planning Contractor will send the Council members the updated county- level population projections. Additionally, office hours would be set so that the
Council Members would have an opportunity to ask questions regarding the population projections.
Current Agricultural Demand Estimate and Method for Updates
The Planning Contractor introduced Mark Masters (Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center [GWPPC] at Albany State University). Mr. Masters is leading the team that is updating the agricultural water demand forecast. Mr. Masters proceeded with his presentation and stated the following points:
- The GWPPC is teamed with members of the University of Georgia (UGA) Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. Both entities were involved with the original forecast, but GWPPC is the lead entity for this round of planning.
- Updates will be conducted for irrigated acreage, livestock, nursery, and golf course irrigation.
- The original forecast used three major steps/inputs for obtaining estimates of irrigated acreages: 1) wetted acreage information from EPD that was imported into GIS; 2) meter data at select locations to refine the wetted acreage data base; and 3) desktop analysis of aerial imagery to identify missing wetted acres.
- Crop water application rates were derived using a crop demand forecast model based on crop type, county, soil type, and climatic conditions.
- The updated method refines the above inputs with: 1) information on animal counts from the United States Department of Agriculture‘s National Agriculture Statistic Services; 2) updated wetted acreage from detailed mapping at locations in South Georgia in the Flint, Ogeechee, and Suwannee-Satilla basins; and 3) additional meter data.
- Mr. Masters presented preliminary results which can be viewed in the Upper Oconee Regional Water Planning Council Meeting PowerPoint. Mr. Masters noted that statewide, the biggest change in animals/livestock was an increase in swine production in the state. Mr. Masters also presented information regarding changes in irrigated acreage and center pivot use in the Upper Oconee Region between 2009 and 2014.
Question: A Council Member asked if golf courses were considered as agriculture water use.
- Response: Mr. Masters stated that EPD permits golf courses as agricultural or non-farm surface water use, depending on EPD permitting rules.
Question: A Council Member asked if the data can be broken up by county.
- Response: Mr. Masters stated that this is underway and will be available at the county level.
Question: Chairman Davis asked if the green industry was involved in reviewing the updates.
- Response: Mr. Masters stated that the green industry has been involved. He also stated that the UGA Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and EPD will schedule a meeting in May to discuss the results and gather additional input.
Question/Comment: A Council Member asked to clarify that animal agriculture just includes production, not processing. Processing would be included in industrial or municipal water use.
- Response: Mr. Masters confirmed that animal agriculture included only production.
Question/Comment: A Council Member stated that the green industry is constantly changing and reevaluating. It needs to be updated, and he is glad that it is being updated.
Response: Mr. Masters stated that the information is being updated with 2014 Farm Gate survey data. He stated that agriculture is absolutely not static and that the analysis details a snapshot in time. Mr. Masters stated he is confident that it is an accurate snapshot of the current status.
Question/Comment: A Council Member stated that Mr. Masters provided a great and clear presentation. He thanked Mr. Masters and acknowledged the amount of work that went into the presentation presented.
Council thanked Mr. Masters for his presentation.
Section 319 (h) Georgia's Nonpoint Source Implementation Grant
Mary Gazaway (EPD) presented this agenda item.
EPD is making money available via special award to develop or revise a nine-element Watershed Management Plan to address nonpoint sources of water pollution in the Upper Oconee Region. The funding is targeted for Regional Councils to partner with sub-grantees. EPD is seeking the Council’s input regarding the priority watershed of focus and the subgrantee to be selected to write the plan. Funding can be made via sole source for eligible subgrantees, which must be public entities or local governments. Grants require a 40 percent match of cash or in- kind services.
- Information was presented on the potential priority watersheds identified in the Upper Oconee Region that would be good candidates for the Council to consider for this program.
- Ms. Gazaway noted the priority watersheds identified by EPD. The prioritization was based on criteria such as having multiple pollutants (for example, total suspended solids and dissolved oxygen) as well as those identified with higher nonpoint source (NPS) loads.
- Potential project partners/sub-grantee applicants were provided, including Regional Commissions, Resource Conservation and Development Councils, and other governmental agencies.
- The tentative start date is scheduled for June 2016, but EPD acknowledges that this timeframe will likely will be delayed. There is a two-year window for this grant opportunity, with the plans to be completed by June 2018. This opportunity will provide time for the Council Members to go back to constituents, partners, and other interested parties to obtain opinions on where problems exist.
- Mary Gazaway will be the point of contact for the 319(h) funding process. She will follow up with the Council regarding a priority watershed recommendation for this grant.
Question/Comment: Dr. Moeti (EPD) asked for any Council ideas that the Council might have on identifying a priority watershed.
- Response: Chairman Davis stated that he would welcome any information that could accelerate the process.
Energy Forecast Updates
The Planning Contractor presented the following information for energy forecast updates:
- Review of thermoelectric power facilities with water withdrawal permits in the State of Georgia
- Review of the energy sector water demand forecasting methodology from Round 1
- Updates to energy sector water demands are not yet complete and will be shared with the Council once available
- There is one major power generating facility (Plant Branch) in the Region. This plant is scheduled to be decommissioned.
Question/Comment: A Council Member stated that Plant Branch went out of service as of April 2015.
Question: A Council Member asked if energy islands were separated from energy production or if they can still be considered as energy facilities.
- Response: Those energy permits marked for industrial purposes are not included in the energy forecast. Their water use is accounted for in the industrial or municipal forecast. (Answer provided via email from a technical consultant to the Planning Contractor)
Metro Water District Update
Danny Johnson from the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (Metro Water District) gave an update on the Metro District and their planning process. Mr. Johnson made the following points:
- Overview of the Metro Water District and structure
- EPD’s role as the permitting authority, and requiring consistency between permitting and the Water District’s plans.
- The Metro Water District is in its third round of water planning. In this round, all three plans are integrated into one plan (the Integrated Plan) to show the interrelationships between water supply, wastewater, and watershed management.
- The objective for this round of planning, including being consistent with other regional planning efforts.
- The District used population projections from both the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget and the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Office of Analytics. These different population projections provided two scenarios (and a range) for planning purposes.
- The water forecasting baseline was based on per capita demand. Demand, measured in gallons per capita per day (gpcd), has decreased substantially over last three planning cycles. It was projected to be 168 gpcd in the first planning cycle; it is now reduced to 108 gpcd in the current planning cycle.
- Status of Metro Water District Integrated Plan:
- The water demand forecasts have been updated. The water conservation program is being expanded to the entire district and there are new commercial conservation programs.
- The wastewater demand forecasts action items include improving the reliability of infrastructure, having digital mapping requirements, and recommendations for septic management.
- The river basin profiles have been updated. The monitoring elements are being streamlined to match the state’s Watershed Protection Plan requirements.
- The integrated public education and outreach plan have been updated. It includes the minimum requirements as well as activities that can address those requirements.
- The draft of the Integrated Plan will likely be ready for distribution this summer. Neighboring Councils are encouraged to give Metro Water District feedback about their plan. The Metro Water District will hold a meeting to discuss the details of their draft plan, and then give interested Council members a period of time (approximately six weeks) to provide their input.
Question/Comment: Adriane Wood (Georgia Department of Community Affairs [DCA]) stated that the feral pig population in South Georgia has been a problem. There is a plan to import pigs for hunting into White County (headwaters of Chattahoochee).
- Response: Mr. Johnson stated that this was good information to have. Lake Lanier does have established total maximum daily loads (TMDL) due to its water quality issues.
Question/Comment: A Council Member commented that septic systems seem to be “out of sight, out of mind.” People often do not even know that they have one.
- Response: Mr. Johnson replied that people can determine whether or not they are on a septic system by determining if they have a sewer bill. If they do not, the wastewater system is probably a septic tank.
Question/Comment: Ms. Wood [DCA] mentioned that DCA is doing some septic work with a Coastal 319(h) grant; it details best management practices and ordinances.
Chairman Davis thanked Mr. Johnson and indicated his presentation was a valuable exchange of knowledge and best practices.
Municipal Water/Wastewater Forecast Updates
The Planning Contractor presented the following information for municipal water forecast updates:
- Review of the Round 1 methodology used to calculate municipal water demands
- Review of the per capita adjustment factor (average rate of change from 2010 to 2014) that was applied to the Round 1 gallons per capita per day (gpcd) to arrive at the updated gpcd value for calculating publicly-supplied municipal water demands.
- Municipal gpcd results for the Upper Oconee Region. Overall, there was very little change across the Region between the Round 1 and updated values (146 gpcd regional average value in Round 1 compared to a 145.8 gpcd regional average updated value). The Planning Contractor stated that population is the more significant parameter in terms of driving estimates of municipal water demands. The Planning Contractor also noted that EPD is currently taking a closer look at an additional source of information regarding county-level per capita values, and will come back to the Council with further information as that analysis progresses. The additional source of information was used when considering the 2010-2014 trends and arriving at the per capita adjustment factors. A current snapshot of the additional source of information, which is still under review, shows a regional average gpcd value of 140.
- Dr. Moeti reminded the Council that statewide planning is very different from local area planning. EPD also stated that it is the trend shown by the per capita adjustment factors that drives the resulting change in gpcd by Regions.
Question: A Council Member asked if any considerations were given to the amount produced and amount sold. How is water loss in the system accounted for in the current projections?
- Response: The Planning Contractor stated there are some correction factors that were used in Round 1. Actual data from utilities was incorporated. The Planning Contractor has followed up with EPD to determine how this is incorporated into this Update.
- Response: A Council Member stated that some owners of small systems have been told that it is cheaper to let it leak than it is to fix it.
- Response: Dr. Moeti stated that water loss audits need be conducted for systems (>3,300 people) to make improvements in efficiency.
The Planning Contractor then presented the following information for municipal wastewater forecast updates:
- Review of the Round 1 methodology used to estimate total municipal wastewater generation
- Review of the methodology used to update the municipal wastewater generation forecast, and updated results by region
Industrial Water/Wastewater Forecast Updates
The Planning Contractor presented the following information for industrial water/wastewater forecast updates:
- How industrial water and wastewater demand forecasts were developed in Round 1
- Review of Round 1 industrial water demands by category and source
- Review of Round 1 industrial wastewater flow by discharge method
- Unless there is a significant change to industry in the Region, EPD is not proposing to change the industrial forecasts during this Plan update process
Question/Comment: Mr. Odum (Coastal Georgia Regional Water Planning Council) stated that the Coastal Council has removed employment as a proxy from industrial forecasting because of the changes in employment rates and water use, as well as how changes have taken place.
- Response: The Planning Contractor responded that the data can be difficult to acquire because of the proprietary nature of the information.
Appointment of Subcommittee
The Planning Contractor then introduced the concept of appointing subcommittees for the review and revision process. Chairman Davis asked for three Council Members to volunteer to review data and provide feedback and information to Jacobs/EPD. The Council members who volunteered, with an alternate, were:
- Hunter Bicknell
- Larry Eley
- Linda Gantt
- Pat Graham
The Planning Contractor will schedule a follow-up teleconference with these Council Members and report back to the full Council on any follow-up items that may arise during the meeting.
Public Comment/Local Official Comment
Marilyn Hall (Athens-Clarke County and Georgia Water Wise Council) discussed the county population projections and forecasting related to the service delivery strategy of Athens-Clarke County. Ms. Hall will share that information with the Planning Contractor. Ms. Hall also discussed the 319(h) project that Athens-Clarke County completed regarding septic education. That information and outreach materials are available to reuse for other projects and activities. Athens-Clarke County is also willing to meet with interested parties, utilities, and others to share information and discuss program implementation.
Addendum – Please see the following website link for more information on Athens-Clark County’s Septic Education Program:
Ms. Hall also provided the following written comments:
“Please contact me to get our population, water use, and wastewater forecasts. Please make ‘supplemental packet’ of information given to the Council available to public, or at least to people who request it (like me!). Athens-Clarke County gpcd is wrong. We are not represented on the Council, but should be.”
Addendum – The Planning Contractor followed up with Ms. Hall to obtain the forecasts mentioned and will provide them to EPD upon submission.
There are two Council Members representing Athens-Clarke County that were not able to attend the meeting: Mr. Charles Armentrout and Rep. Terry England.
A Council Member encouraged everyone to tell their state representative what we are doing, what is happening, and let them know that they can call on us.
Wrap Up/Council Meeting 2 Preview
Chairman Davis explained that he has a survey from a Ph.D. student at UGA that is studying the process of regional water planning. He passed out questionnaires and asked the Council Members to complete and return it. Chairman Davis stated it will aid in her research for her dissertation.
Chairman Davis and the Planning Contractor concluded the meeting. The joint meeting is tentatively set for June in Dublin, Georgia. The Planning Contractor previewed that the topics during the next meeting will be resources assessment and gap analysis.
The meeting adjourned at 1:11 p.m.
Upper Oconee Regional Water Council Members in attendance:
- Melvin Davis (Chair); Pat Graham (Vice-Chair); Hunter Bicknell; Jennifer Davis; Larry J. Eley; Alan Foster; Jim Luke; George Martin attended as a proxy for Linda S. Gantt
Regional Water Council Delegates in attendance:
- Mark Burns (representing Altamaha Regional Water Planning Council)
- Phil Odum (representing Coastal Georgia Regional Water Planning Council)
- John Roller (representing Altamaha Regional Water Planning Council)
Georgia EPD Representatives in attendance:
- Mary Gazaway; Lebone Moeti; Christine Voudy
Regional Water Council Planning Contractors in attendance:
- Dale Jones, Zakiya Seymour, Michelle Vincent (representing Jacobs)
- Shayne Wood (representing CDM Smith)
- Jonathan Connell (representing Middle Georgia Regional Commission)
- Princeley Dorfeuille (representing Georgia Environmental Finance Authority)
- Marilyn Hall (representing Athens-Clarke County & Georgia Water Wise Council)
- Danny Johnson (representing Metro Water District)
- Patti Lanford (representing Georgia Department of Natural Resources – Wildlife Resources)
- Mark Masters (representing Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center)
- Scott Thackston (representing Georgia Forestry Commission)
- Adriane Wood (representing Georgia DCA)