President's Update 6-26-19
President, The Landings Association
Summer is here. It is hot. People are talking about water.
Our water in Savannah comes from the Floridan Aquifer. This system is one of the world’s most productive aquifers and supplies drinking water for nearly 10 million people. It underlies the entire state of Florida and parts of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina. Interestingly, withdrawals from the Floridan Aquifer began in 1887 when Savannah began to supplement surface water withdrawals from the Savannah River with groundwater.
Due to a number of factors, including a cone of depression centered in the city of Savannah, saltwater intrusion into the Upper Floridan Aquifer has grown. As a result, conservation efforts are essential.
Utilities, Inc. provides treated drinking water (potable water) to most of Skidaway Island (including all of The Landings) from five Upper Floridan wells supplying two water towers. The Landings Association provides common property irrigation water from three small deep wells, eight shallow wells, and two Utilities, Inc. metered sites. The Landings Club provides golf course irrigation primarily from lagoon stormwater and supplemented by two deep wells and 74 shallow wells.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) manages water resources in Georgia through permits to local governments, industry, and private entities for surface and groundwater withdrawals. In 2015, Skidaway Island and Tybee Island were the only two permit holders that did not receive reductions in the permit renewal process. EPD anticipates additional reductions to the permitted withdrawal amounts in Chatham County in 2025.
The EPD requires permit holders to develop a water conservation education program and to adopt and implement a conservation-oriented water rate structure. Utilities, Inc. has done this. You will notice that your water rate goes up depending on how much water you use. Utilities, Inc. also has two apps that help users monitor their water use much more efficiently -- MyUtilityConnect
. Exploring alternatives to the Floridan Aquifer is also a Utilities, Inc. permit condition, and their engineers have evaluated options such as drawing water from the Cretaceous aquifer, or reuse options such as a Tertiary Treatment Plant.
TLA’s Strategic Water Committee’s objective is to represent TLA’s interests as Utilities, Inc. continues to develop options to reduce reliance on the Floridan Aquifer and to provide overall direction for the development of an Association water strategy. This Committee has been active in educating residents on the issues, including use of shallow wells, watering guidelines, drought resistance plantings, and rain gauges.
We cannot shirk our individual responsibilities. Conserve. Sixty-three percent of users on Skidaway Island are slightly under the US per capita average of water usage. Thirty percent are using 1.5 times the US average; five percent use nearly 3 times the US average; and two percent use almost 5 times the US average. More than half of potable water consumption on island is for irrigation.
This issue is especially relevant given the new development on island. Based on the EPD permit capacity, Utilities, Inc. has a finite number of water taps it will issue. The agreement to provide water is a direct contractual agreement between Utilities, Inc. and the developer. All money collected for the provision of water/water services is paid to Utilities, Inc., and TLA receives no part of that payment.
TLA’s Board and staff are committed to conservation and will continue to work on these issues. In the meantime, stay safe and cool as these hot months approach. My personal feeling about summer in The Landings? I love it. Life slows down, even for those of us who continue to work in the summer. Schools are out. Some of our neighbors leave for summer homes. Traffic decreases. Enjoy!
This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.
Visit landings.org to read the original article.