Some Georgia farmers may see state-mandated irrigation water meters as yet another example of "big-brother"-style government tactics. But the meters can be used to make irrigation systems more efficient, saving both water and money for growers, say state officials.
House Bill 579 — passed by Georgia’s General Assembly and signed into law by the governor — requires that water meters be placed on all of the state’s permitted irrigation systems.
"House Bill 579 mandates that the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission (GSWCC) place a measuring device on each one of the agricultural water permits in the state," says David Eigenberg, GSWCC division director.
Farmers who choose to do so can use these state-provided meters as management tools, he says, to help them become more efficient in how they apply water to their crops.
Growers can take the soil-water curves provided for different crops by the University of Georgia and USDA-ARS and incorporate those readings with information from the water meters, says Eigenberg.