Surface water provides 5 billion gallons per day, or 78 percent, of the total freshwater used (including thermoelectric) in Georgia (Fanning, 2003). Climate, geology, and landforms control the natural distribution of Georgia's water resources. Georgia is a 'headwaters' State, with most of the rivers beginning in northern Georgia and increasing in size downstream (see map at right for major watersheds). Surface water is the primary source of water in the northern one-half of the State, including the Atlanta metropolitan area, where limited ground-water resources are difficult to obtain. In Georgia, periodic droughts exacerbate competition for surface-water supplies. Many areas of Georgia also face a threat of flooding because of spring frontal thunderstorms and the potential for hurricanes from both the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. As the population of Georgia increases, these flood risks will increase with development in flood-risk zones, particularly in the coastal region.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Georgia's Surface-Water Resources and Streamflow Monitoring Network, 2008