Congressman Jack Kingston (GA-1) announced today that the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission (GSWCC) has launched a water conservation plan for Georgia farmers. The program was made possible by appropriations funds received from the 2008 agricultural appropriations bill. The $2.58 million dollars received by GSWCC will aid farmers in building irrigation water reservoirs and improving existing reservoirs, while enhancing the efficiency of irrigation systems.
"We have worked very hard to secure these funds and I know that they will be put to good use," Congressman Kingston said. "With the draught conditions of recent years it is important to find sensible solutions that not only help Georgia farmers, but preserve our natural resources."
The conservation program is open to landowners south of the borders of Burke, Chattahoochee, Crawford, Washington and Wilkinson counties. Landowners enrolled in the program will receive financial and technical assistance to build a reservoir which will serve as a supplemental irrigation system. Rainwater can be retained within ponds and aid farmers who need the additional water supply during draught conditions. The utilization of surface water through the program will also lessen the demand for water from the Georgia aquifer.
"This program is truly a welcome change, especially in the face of the recent drought our state has endured," said Kenneth Taft of Taft Farms in Manor. "What a relief it is to begin the growing season with a feeling of confidence, knowing that I have a large supply of water available."
GSWCC administers the cost-share program with landowners by paying 75 percent of the cost, not to exceed $50,000. Technical assistance will be provided by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. For more information, please contact the Soil and Water Conservation Commission offices in Dawson, Milledgeville or Statesboro or at any USDA Service Center in South Georgia. Information can also be found on the GSWCC website at www.gaswcc.org.