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Position Paper 2003:
GCG Commits to the Protection of Water as a Public Resource

Reviewed 2010

The Garden Club of Georgia, Inc. supports independent, scholarly, peer-reviewed scientific research as the basis for the formulation of responsible public policy and legislation, and appropriate funding in order to ensure qualified results.

The Garden Club of Georgia, Inc. maintains that the surface and ground waters of [the State of] Georgia should continue to be a public resource, subject to reasonable use by others, but protected for the common good; and should be managed in a sustainable manner by the state in order to protect the natural ecosystems and to meet both human and economic needs.

GCG recognizes that all life is dependent upon clean water, and we support the original objective of the 1972 Clean Water Act to "restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation's waters." We maintain that a "watershed-based" approach is the best way to achieve this goal.

Despite outstanding progress since 1972, many waters in Georgia do not meet the minimum standards for drinking, fishing, and swimming. Contamination from industry, agriculture, municipalities and households grows faster than our ability to set and enforce standards. The proliferation of excess nutrients and toxic substances pollutes our rivers, lakes and coastal waters. The loss of critical wetlands as well as nonpoint source pollution from stormwater runoff, have increased the pollution and sediment load in our waters. Fresh water resources are also a problem in Georgia. Water quantity is endangered by droughts, subsidies, diversion of water for agricultural use, and rapid commercial and residential development.

In order to protect our water resources, to promote water conservation and reuse, and to prevent pollution, the Garden Club of Georgia, Inc. supports the following goals:

1. Reduction of water pollution by:

  • Reauthorization of a strengthened Clean Water Act
  • Reduction of point source pollution from industry and sewage treatment plants
  • Reduction of nonpoint source pollution from stormwater runoff
  • Reduction of airborne pollutants which degrade water quality
  • Enforcement of strict water quality standards and pollution permits
  • Increased funding for public education and clean water programs

2. The protection of our ecosystems by:

  • Restoration and preservation of our watersheds
  • Protection of ground and surface waters
  • Restoration and preservation of our wetlands
  • Public education about natural resources protection
  • Incentives for greenspace acquisition, to encourage riparian restoration and preservation
  • Development of statewide policy to increase protection of coastal waters and our oceans

3. Ensure the statewide availability of safe drinking water and public education concerning its content.

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