The City of Thomasville was recently awarded a Regional Water Plan Seed Grant of $75,000 from the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to support the City’s Regional Water Plan implementation. As an agency the EPD is charged with protecting Georgia’s air, land, and water resources through the authority of state and federal environmental statutes. According to Chris White, Executive Director of Public Utilities, Regional Water Plan Seed Grants are provided as a means to support and incentivize local governments as they undertake their Regional Water Plan implementation.
“The funding from the grant will assist the City with data collection and analysis of current conditions related to stormwater management, such as flooding, infrastructure, and water quality,” said White. “This information will help us develop a Stormwater Master Plan that will assess existing conditions within the city limits. Through the plan, we will set priorities, timelines, and find funding for the needed infrastructure improvements to address current flooding issues while helping us maintain the best possible water quality for our community.”
The Georgia General Assembly established the 2004 Comprehensive Statewide Water Management Planning Act mandating the development of a statewide water plan that supports a far-reaching vision for water resource management. “The statewide plan called for regional water planning to provide the necessary local and regional perspectives to ensure each of Georgia’s ten water planning region’s water resources are sustainably managed through at least 2050,” said White. “Georgia’s future relies on the sustainable management and protection of our state’s limited water supplies.”
A major component of the grant award will be the City’s need to implement public education for the local community. “The City is partnering with Golden Triangle and Keep Thomas County Beautiful (KTCB) to provide watershed education to our local fourth and sixth-grade students through the Project WET Seeing Watersheds Program,” said White. “As part of the public education, we will mark stormwater drains that empty directly to creeks and create a video showing the many ways that people affect water quality. In addition, we will host two peer-to-peer workshops for communities similar in size to Thomasville.”
In addition to the funds received through the grant, the City will invest cash and in-kind services towards these projects. “The City will match the grant amount with an investment of $29,863 in funding along with $20,200 provided through in-kind services,” said White.
“We are thankful for the appropriation of the grant funds by the Georgia General Assembly and for the endorsement our application received from the Regional Water Planning Council,” said White. “The Seed Grant plays a major role in our ability to successfully implement a sustainable Regional Water Plan that will benefit our community.”
For more information about the Seed Grant please visit www.thomasville.org. For additional information or questions, please contact Pam Schalk, Grants Administrator, at 229-227-4093.