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Georgia farmers, who depend on irrigation to sustain their crops, are concerned about losing their irrigation water to Atlanta.
Farmers in Southwest Georgia struggle with sandy, pebbly, quickly draining soil. As a result, irrigation becomes a vital resource to keep the soil moist and fertile.
According to the Associated Press, farmers are now worried that their precious irrigation water will now be redirected to the drought-stricken city of Atlanta.
In the midst of unprecedented watering restrictions, Georgia citizens are living with strong watering restrictions, and some legislative leaders are hoping to build more state reservoirs. Some—including Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin—have also favored the idea of transferring water to her city from other areas via pipeline.
This concept is what is creating the tension between rural and urban Georgia.
"I don't want to throw a brick at Atlanta. But I feel like we're getting squeezed between entities as everyone competes for water," Glenn Cox, a farmer in Camilla told the Associated Press. "We just don't have enough clout. There are more trees in this plot of land than there are people in this county."
Wayne Juers, vice president of Pike Nursery Holding—which had to file for bankruptcy due to the drought—underscores the severity of watering restrictions, saying, "It caught us a little bit off guard. Homeowners started turning on homeowners, and if you're planting pansies out there, they think you're a criminal."
Metropolitan Atlanta boasts roughly 5 million people and projects more than 2 million more by 2030, when water usage could climb past 700 million gal a day.