I have lived along the Flint River at Lake Blackshear, Georgia since 1979. I have visited Apalachicola, Carrabelle, and later St. George Island, since 1959.

Major culprits in the water issues are South Georgia farmers and their apparently unrestricted use of center pivot irrigation systems. They often pump water directly from the Flint and its tributaries (e.g. Swift Creek in Crisp County, Ga.). They bore deep wells extending into the aquifer with 10-inch pipes hooked to the public electrical power. This has rapidly increased in the last two years.

It seems like every little pea patch in this area has a center pivot on it. Much of the water is sprayed on watermelon and cantaloupe crops - cash crops for farmers but not essential as a food/fiber supply.

Local politicians, government officials, and our U. S. senators and congressmen will not touch the irrigation issues for fear of appearing anti-agriculture in this farming area.

Go to Google, pick up the satellite picture of the Flint River beginning at Marshallville, Ga. and follow its path to the Florida state line. Look for crop circles (indicating center pivot irrigation) right up to the Flint on both sides and its tributaries. You will see the problem.

Atlanta robs the Chattahoochee River but Georgia’s farmers are beginning to suck the Flint River aquifer dry with uncontrolled irrigation practices. We have lived on our property for 25 years with two water wells. Last year, both went dry for the first time.


Roy A. Ragan

Cordele, Georgia