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Assimilative Capacity Modeling in Support of the Georgia Comprehensive State-Wide Water Management Plan

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  • In January 2008, the Georgia Water Council approved the Georgia Comprehensive State-Wide Water Management Plan (GA Water Plan). The purpose of GA Water Plan is to guide the state of Georgia with managing its water resources in a sustainable manner. This means not only allowing growth in Georgia, but also maintaining the ecological and biological health of the State’s rivers, lakes and estuaries, as well as protecting state water quality standards. In order to evaluate the State’s resources, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GAEPD) with the assistance of other state agencies, the University System of Georgia and other research institutions, the U.S. Geological Survey and contractors are conducting water resource assessments to determine Surface Water Availability, Groundwater Availability, and Assimilative Capacity of the surface water resources. The assessments will include the compilation and management of data, computer modeling of both current and future needs, and additional monitoring if needed. Results of the assessments will be provided Regional Planning Councils as a starting point for the development of a recommended Water Development and Conservation Plan. The Assimilative Capacity resource assessment included the development and calibration of a series of linked models including GADosag, EPDRIV-1D, LSPC, and EFDC. Once calibrated these models were used to evaluate a number of scenarios such as impacts due to the projected land use and point source discharges in 2050, non-point source management strategies, U.S. Army Corps of Engineering reservoir operation changes. These models were also used in the development and/or evaluation of nutrient criteria. As our water resources become more taxed (both quantity and quality), and nutrient criteria development are being developed, the approach taken by Georgia will serve as guide to other agencies in long-term water planning.
  • Presented at The Oregon Water Conference, May 24-25, 2011, Corvallis, OR.
  • KEYWORDS: Water planning, Modeling, Assimilative capacity
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