Talks of tentative agreements between Georgia, Alabama and Georgia over the ACT river system didn’t result in an approved agreement. Without a resolution to the water supply issue and being in the middle of a severe drought, the focus entering this decade remained on water supply and drought management throughout the state. In 2000, the legislature authorized the Flint River Drought Protection Act to ensure the Flint River maintains adequate flows to support fish and aquatic life during times of severe drought. The Flint River Plan was a response to studies that suggested a several impact to the flows was due to agricultural irrigation. With the moratorium on new permits and the continued several drought, this Protection Act impacted crop production for peanuts, cotton, corn and other vegetable crops. The state paid farmers to stop irrigation. This type of program had not been implemented in Georgia prior to this Act. In 2001, the program impacted more than 33,000 acres of farmland and cost $4.5 million. In 2002, the payout was $5.3 million for over 41,000 acres which were removed from production. The plan was also thought to be developed to appease those downstream who during the tri-state water wars partially blamed Georgia farmers for the low river flows at the state line.



EPD reached out extensively to a Technical Advisory Committee as well as a Stakeholder Advisory Committee to effectively develop the water management policies for the basin. Research, including flow monitoring, began to provide more information on the impacts of agricultural water withdrawals on Flint River flows. For example, the Georgia Soil and Conservation Commission began installing water meters on farm irrigation systems to better gage exactly how much water is used. This information will be valuable in developing a sustainable water use plan for southwest Georgia.