Water use for 2005 for each county in Georgia was estimated using data obtained from various Federal and State agencies and local sources. Total consumptive water use also was estimated for each county in Georgia for 2005. Water use is subdivided according to offstream and instream use. Offstream use is defined as water withdrawn or diverted from a ground- or surface-water source and transported to the place of use. Estimates for offstream water use include the categories of public supply, domestic, commercial, industrial, mining, irrigation, livestock, aquaculture, and thermoelectric power. Instream use is that which occurs within a stream channel for such purposes as hydroelectric-power generation, navigation, water-quality improvement, fish propagation, and recreation. The only category of instream use estimated was hydroelectric-power generation.
Georgia law (the Georgia Ground-Water Use Act of 1972 and the Georgia Water Supply Act of 1978 [Georgia Department of Natural Resources, 2008a,b]) requires any water user who withdraws more than 100,000 gallons per day on a monthly average to obtain a withdrawal permit from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. Permit holders generally must report their withdrawals by month. The Georgia Water-Use Program collects the reported information under the withdrawal permit system and the drinking-water permit system and stores the data in the Georgia Water-Use Data System.