Is our Drinking Water a Given?  

Wed, 05/22/2024

Courtesy of Strategic Water Committee

Have you ever wondered where the drinking water on Skidaway Island comes from? Is it pumped from Chatham County (Savannah) when we turn on our taps? Quite simply, the answer is no! This may come as a surprise to many Landings residents who have lived in larger urban centers where the city or local municipality is the water provider. In that case, water or the availability of freshwater is a given.

This is not the case for Skidaway Island. Our water source is the Floridan Aquifer, which extends throughout Florida, northward to the base of the Appalachian region near Atlanta, and runs eastward to the ocean. Our Aquifer (pictured below) is really just a large body of porous rock and/or sediment that holds groundwater. Water is continually withdrawn from the Aquifer through pumps and wells and is recharged through natural rainfall. Sounds like a miracle, especially if you don’t live near a major river.

Our situation is a little more complex than this though. Our Aquifer is at risk because the ocean’s saltwater is leaking into the Aquifer many hundreds of feet below ground level. This intrusion is occurring in the coastal area of Port Royal near Beaufort and for many years has been migrating south to Coastal Georgia. Due to the saltwater intrusion, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has set the withdrawal permits for cities, towns, and counties along the coastal area, including Skidaway Island and 41 other entities. Withdrawal permits limit the amount of fresh water extracted in an effort to retard the saltwater leaking or intruding into the Aquifer.
















How Is Skidaway Island doing in managing our freshwater withdrawal?

Prior to 2010, the water withdrawal permit for Skidaway Island, via Utilities, Inc. of Georgia, was 2.61 million gallons per day (mgd). After 2010, this permit amount was reduced to 1.695 mgd, a decrease of 35% in water availability.

With new home construction, water connections on Skidaway Island increased an average of 10% year-over-year from 2010 to 2017. Although demand for water increased, Skidaway Island still achieved a 10% reduction in per capita water usage. From 2018 through 2025, an additional 10% increase in water demand is anticipated as a result of newly developed residential properties on Skidaway Island within and outside The Landings, and the addition of commercial users in The Village on Skidaway Island.

Some may wrongly jump to the conclusion that the irrigation of the golf courses and The Landings Association’s (TLA) common areas causes withdrawal of the most water. Did you know that TLA and The Landings Golf & Athletic Club (TLGAC) source water through a number of shallow wells outside of the 1.695 mgd permit? These reductions evolved through cooperation and planning among TLA, Utilities, Inc. of Georgia, and TLGAC.

Today, Utilities, Inc. of Georgia, our water and wastewater service company on Skidaway Island, still is only permitted to draw 1.695 million gallons per day (mgd) to supply residents and businesses. This includes freshwater and wastewater for approximately 4,590 homes and 11,940 residents, including the South Harbor community, The Marshes of Skidaway, Thrive, commercial businesses located in The Village, and Landings Association residents.   

Our progress in managing Skidaway Island growth while conserving groundwater below the Georgia EPD permit level has been an outstanding achievement and would not have been possible without the culture of “Environmental Sustainability” embedded within tthe Landings community.

So, if we’ve done such an amazing job in conserving groundwater and have been certified as a Sustainable Community since 2018 by Audubon International, why should residents be concerned?  

In 2025, the Georgia EPD will explore further permit withdrawal reductions to the Aquifer groundwater on Skidaway Island. If this occurs, Skidaway Island will be required to reduce its withdrawal amount by the year 2030. This reduction will decrease our withdrawal permit to an unreasonable level given our housing trends.
















Utilities, Inc. of Georgia, TLA, Skidaway Audubon, TLGAC,  and The Landings Company always have worked together, and will continue to work together on water conservation and sustainability and to understand the need to lessen our impact on the Aquifer. Through our island partners, we have met and exceeded the expectations of Georgia EPD permit withdrawals since 2010.

TLA has agreed that in addition to working with the Georgia EPD, the best approach during this time period is to continue with focused efforts to achieve water conservation through a suite of proactive strategies. Moving forward, watch for articles and updates showcasing groundwater conservation, including managing water loss, smart irrigation technology, water management tools, water conservation tips, and ways residents can become actively engaged in reducing our reliance on the Aquifer. We all can become more involved in protecting our water assets.






This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.

Visit to read the original article.