December 22, 2016

Meeting Summary: Suwannee-Satilla Council November 17, 2016


To: Suwannee – Satilla Regional Water Planning Council

From: Shayne Wood, CDM Smith

Date: December 22, 2016

Subject: Suwannee – Satilla Regional Water Planning Council Meeting

Regional Water Plan Review and Revision Process

This memorandum provides the meeting summary of the Suwannee – Satilla Regional Water Planning (RWP) Council Meeting 3, held on November 17, 2016 at the Oconee Fall Line Technical College (Dubose Porter Center) in Dublin, GA.  A Joint Council Meeting was held for the six eastern RWP Councils (Altamaha, Coastal Georgia, Middle Ocmulgee, Suwannee-Satilla, Savannah- Upper Ogeechee and Upper Oconee) from 10 AM to 4 PM.  The Suwannee – Satilla RWP Council held an individual Council Meeting during the afternoon portion of the joint meeting.   This memorandum provides a summary of the items discussed at the individual Suwannee – Satilla RWP Council Meeting that was held from approximately 1:15 PM to 2:40 PM.

1) Debrief with Council Members regarding information discussed during the Joint Meeting

CDM Smith, the Planning Contractor (PC) opened up the meeting and provided an outline of the topics that would be covered during the individual Council Meeting. The remainder of the meeting followed the agenda, and the key points and major discussion topics are summarized below.

The PC asked if the Council Members had any additional questions or comments from the morning portion of the joint session.

Comment: One Council Member noted the discussion regarding the farm ponds, how that was originally brought up during the development of the original Regional Water Plan, and that it was specifically the Suwannee – Satilla RWP Council that asked how farm ponds were accounted for in the Surface Water Availability Resource Assessments (SW RAs). The Council Member appreciated that EPD continued to advance looking into farm ponds and assessing how they are used and how to incorporate them into the SW RAs. The Council Member noted that it may still require some additional refinement in moving forward, especially with understanding how they are explicitly being used at the farm level (irrigation, water for livestock, recreation, etc.).  He also noted the need to ensure that the way they’ve been incorporated into the modeling, that they aren’t erroneously contributing to an under prediction of potential surface water gaps.

The PC continued the meeting outlining the following topics: a high level summary of select forecast information; a summary of surface and groundwater resource assessment information; a preliminary approach to shared resource analysis and potential gaps; and an initial review of management practices based on updated forecasts, resource assessments and regional vision and goals. 

A brief overview of the demand forecast results was provided highlighting select population growth, municipal and industrial water and wastewater demand, and the Counties with the highest forecasted changes. 

Question/Comment: There was a question about Coffee County and the 1.1 mgd projected increase in groundwater demand. It seemed a little high given the relatively small population. The Council Member wanted to know if that was due to expected industrial growth or just population growth.

  • Response: The PC wasn’t sure about the specifics. The population projections are from the Georgia Office of Planning and Budget and this round does not include specifically updating the industrial demands but the PC would look into this and get back to the council.

The PC noted that they would work with EPD and Mark Masters to roll in the Agricultural Demands and work to finalize the Demand Forecast Technical Memorandum for the Water and Wastewater forecasts and then make that document available to Council members for their review.

The PC then presented a list of the planning nodes with potential surface water quantity gaps, the Counties within the region affected by the potential gaps, and other Planning Councils who share the resource.  The PC indicated that it may be beneficial to form a “shared resources” subcommittee to review more detailed information about the potential gaps and to include members from other Councils as well as some non-Council members (i.e., implementation actors). This subcommittee could also provide some additional insights regarding potential management practices.

The PC explained that the presentation contains an overview of the surface water quality/assimilative capacity resource assessment but unless Council wanted to discuss anything specific the following are the key take home messages contained in the PPT slides.  The PC explained that the assimilative capacity for most of the individual reaches appear to be improving under the future condition, but this is also based on the assumptions made by EPD which include more stringent permit limits for wastewater discharges.  The results of nutrient loading (nitrogen and phosphorus) for wet and dry years provide some insights on potential sources, with areas of higher loading concentrations in wet years being potentially indicative of nonpoint source pollution associated with stormwater runoff.  Lastly, the PC summarized the results for estuaries and discussed the limited assimilative capacity in the lower reaches of the St. Marys River and Sound.  It was noted that the results from the St Marys Sound are a little hard to understand given the predominately undeveloped areas upstream of the Sound and the PC noted he would follow up with EPD on this topic.

The PC then briefly discussed management practices and pointed out that the Council will re-visit and refine (where necessary) the management practices presented in the 2011 Regional Water Plan (a handout of the table containing management practices and overall summary from the 2011 Regional Water Plan was also distributed to Council Members).  The PC reminded the Council that there were over 75 management practices identified in the original plan.

2) Council Meeting Business

Given limited attendance, the council meeting business items were limited. It was expected that with the future Council meetings being back in the Suwannee - Satilla area, this would likely make it more practical and convenient for Council Members, thus likely allowing a quorum to be reached. The Council specific items covered included:

  • 319(h) grant update, noting that the grant scope of work for the 9 Element Watershed Management Plan for Seventeen Mile River (HUC # is 0307020105) is moving forward.
  • The PC will work with the Council to schedule a follow-up “office hours” call for the Council.
  • The Council still needs to approve the meeting summary from June 23, 2016 Council Meeting. This topic was not directly discussed, as it appeared that it would be best to “finalize” this summary via email correspondence with Council.
  • New business – none identified.

3) Meeting Attendance

Suwannee – Satilla Regional Water Planning Council members in attendance:

  • Scott Downing

Georgia EPD Representatives in attendance:

  • Cliff Lewis

Regional Water Council contractors in attendance:

  • Shayne Wood (CDM Smith)

Public/Agency attendees:

  • None

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