Water Council members appointed

Published 12:23 pm Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Two officials with the City of Bainbridge and two with farming interests were appointed Wednesday to the state’s regional water planning council.

Bainbridge City Manager Chris Hobby, City Councilman Dean Burke, farmer Greg Murray and farm equipment businessman John Bridges were named to the Lower Flint Regional Council.

Gov. Sonny Perdue, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson announced Wednesday their selections for members of Georgia’s regional water planning councils, which will have a key role in the statewide water planning process.

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“The individuals we have selected are solution-oriented and will provide visionary water resource planning,” Perdue said in a news release. “These appointments reflect a diverse group of Georgians and each one has a unique skill set and knowledge base, which will allow the councils to focus on water resource issues while also addressing the state’s economic needs.”

The Comprehensive Statewide Water Management Plan, approved by the General Assembly in 2008, created 10 water planning regions. Each of these regions will have a water planning council to represent the water interests unique to their respective regions.

“Water will remain a key issue for our state, and I am very pleased with the group of individuals selected to move forward with a responsible, long-term plan,” Cagle said.

Each council consists of 25 members, three alternates and an ex-officio member from both the House and Senate. The councils include representatives from agriculture, forestry, industry, commerce, local governments, water utilities, regional development centers, tourism, recreation and environmental groups.

Regional water planning councils will prepare recommended Water Development and Conservation Plans to characterize the water needs for each region as those needs relate to the needs of adjacent regions and the preferred management practices to use in each region to close any “gaps” between water capacities and water needs.

In the coming months, the regional water planning councils will begin working to shape the future of water policy in the state. Early in 2009, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) will kickoff this effort by convening the almost 300 council members to receive their charge from the governor, to learn the basics of water management in Georgia and to begin creating shared visions for their regions of the state

The councils will oversee preparation of regional water development and conservation plans for their planning regions. These plans will focus on both water quantity and water quality issues, and will include forecasts of future water supply and wastewater treatment needs.

Under requirements of the plan, the governor selects 13 members of each council. In addition, the governor selects one alternate member who will attend all meetings and vote if needed to establish a quorum.  The lieutenant governor and the speaker of the select the remaining council members including non-voting ex officio members from the Senate and the House.

Member of Lower Flint council

The following are the members of the council by county:

Decatur County—Dean Burke, Bainbridge; John Bridges, Brinson; Greg Murray, Bainbridge, and Chris Hobby, Bainbridge.

Baker County—T.E. Moye, Newton.

Calhoun County—Mike Newberry, Arlington, and Jimmy Webb, Leary.

Colquitt County—Rick Moss, Doerun; Terry Clark, Moultrie, and Will Vereen, Moultrie.

Dougherty County—Chuck Lingle, Albany, and alternate Harold R. Hudgens Jr. Albany.

Early County—James S. Singletary, Blakely; Hal Haddock, Damascus.

Grady County—Jerry Lee, Cairo.

Lee County—Gary Ledden, Leesburg; Jim Quinn, Leesburg.

Miller County—Howard Small, Colquitt; Jerry Chapman, Colquitt.

Mitchell County—Richard Royal, Camilla.

Terrell County—John Heath, Dawson, and alternate George McIntosh, Dawson.

Thomas County—Josh Herring, Boston, and Steve Sykes, Thomasville.

Seminole County—John Bailey, Donalsonville.

Worth County—Jimmy Champion, Bill Yearta and alternate Doyle Medders, all from Sylvester.

Ex-Officio Rep. Gerald Greene, D-Cuthbert

Ex-Officio Sen. John Bulloch, R-Ocholcknee.