2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 12 - CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES
CHAPTER 5 - WATER RESOURCES
ARTICLE 9 - FLINT RIVER DROUGHT PROTECTION
§ 12-5-546 - Prediction of drought; irrigation reduction auction; agreement
. Prediction of drought; irrigation reduction auction; agreement
(a) On or before March 1 of each year, the division will issue a prediction as to whether severe drought conditions are expected during the year.
(b) If severe drought conditions are predicted or otherwise declared in accordance with subsection (a) of this Code section, the division will determine the total number of acres of irrigated land, serviced by irrigation systems located within one or more of the affected areas, that must not be irrigated that year in order to maintain the acceptable Flint River stream flow. Upon such determination, the division shall conduct an irrigation reduction auction whereby a permittee of an irrigation system located within the affected areas is given an opportunity to enter into an agreement with the division, agreeing that in exchange for a certain sum of money per acre of irrigated land serviced by the irrigation system, the permittee will not irrigate those particular acres for the remainder of that calendar year. The authority shall pay the sum so agreed upon when so directed by the director from the unexpended balance of the drought protection funds. In conducting the irrigation reduction auction, the division may establish a maximum dollar amount per acre to be expended from the drought protection funds for such purposes.
(c) An agreement entered into in accordance with subsection (b) of this Code section shall be upon such terms and conditions as the division may deem necessary. The agreement shall provide for payment of the agreed upon sum within 30 days of the date of execution of the agreement by the parties. Failure of a permittee to comply with all terms of the agreement for the duration thereof shall be deemed a violation of such agreement and this article and shall be subject to enforcement by the director as provided in this article.
(d) A permittee who enters into an agreement in accordance with subsection (b) of this Code section shall not irrigate during the period covered by the agreement on those acres that the owner has agreed not to irrigate. If the permittee irrigates said acres during the period covered by the agreement, such action shall be deemed a violation of the agreement and this article and shall be subject to a penalty as determined by the director as provided in this article.
(e) The expenditure of funds under this article as an incentive to permittees not to irrigate lands is deemed by the legislature as a valid use of state moneys to promote valid land use policies that result in the protection of the riverine environment by ensuring that such lands not be irrigated for specified periods of time. No expenditure of funds under this article shall be considered a lease or repurchase of any irrigation permit issued by the director, nor shall it be considered an acknowledgement by the State of Georgia of a property right in any permit issued by the director.
Graham Syfert - Jacksonville Lawyer