By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Your Views: Watering states landscapes vital to environment
Placeholder Image

As a business owner in the "green industry" I am involved through member organizations in an effort to allow some watering of landscapes. Media stories printed in the last several days have had a negative spin to them, with no opinions stated by anyone who believes it is the right thing to do. I would like to offer my side of the story and ask that you consider a few things.

If you analyze all the ways water is used in Georgia, (power plants, commercial and residential use) outdoor watering for landscaping is only 10 percent of water used. However, 100 percent of the water necessary to maintain healthy vegetation has been banned while the other 90 percent of the water used in Georgia has only been restricted by 10 percent. This is not effective "conservation" measures.

Our products and the work we do are critically important to our environment and quality of life issues. This has been totally left out of the news stories and that baffles me more than anything else. It is more important than ever to be "environmentally friendly" and sustainable. Pick up any book on going green and it will have chapters devoted to planting trees, ground covers and plants as ways to be better stewards of the land. Letting our landscapes die while we continue to use water indiscriminately in so many other ways is not sound conservation.

Those of us in the industry are not asking that the public be allowed to turn the sprinklers back on; we are only asking that the public be allowed to use enough water to keep plants alive. We must commit to better ways to conserve than just relying solely on total bans on one small type of water use.

When subdivisions and shopping malls are built, landscaping is required by law because it is the only way to prevent erosion and offset the negative effects of impervious surfaces like parking lots and rooftops. The Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Act was put into effect by the EPD. One of its requirements states that "permanent vegetation must be established after any land disturbance practice." This same agency then banned the water necessary to comply with the law.

Landscape companies that do installations had to take a test and pay a fee to become certified and can be fined for violating the law. The state takes this law seriously because landscaping is critical to water quality and air pollution. Our products can permanently heal the land and offset the negative effects of suburbanization. No other industry can make that claim.

Thanks to the total water ban, public perception is that landscaping is nonessential. We've even been portrayed as water wasters. I would argue that there are many ways water is being wasted, but it is never a waste to keep trees and plants alive. If you think the lake has a lot of silt in it now, imagine it without the roots of plants anchoring the soil. The long-term effect of banning water necessary to keep plants alive will be evident for a long time.

I understand that we're facing a shortage and that drinking water must be a priority, but I'm asking you to consider that a total ban on one type of water use that is undeniably critical to environmental issues is unbalanced and ineffective; it's not "conservation" at all. There are better ways to get through a water shortage.

Kellie Bowen

Cagle is out of line to back lifting water ban
I thought I had misread Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle's position on lifting water restrictions. Surely he knows that the lake has gone up only eight inches and remains down almost 20 feet. But no, he and bunch of other minions down at the statehouse are backing a plan to lift water restrictions in the metro area.

The plan seems to place homeowners in a position to resume outdoor watering of grass and landscapers to crank up their flatbed trailers and start hauling dry fertilizer and grass seed. Outdoor pools would be filled to capacity and underground sprinkler systems would again start spraying yards and adjacent streets like nothing has happened.

If Cagle was half the leader he purports to be, he would take a stand and say "no." He would advise landscapers to go to the same school (and I assume Web site) and learn how to landscape in a dry climate. Our neighbors in the Southwest have learned this lesson well.

He would advise homeowners and commercial sites to plow up their underwater sprinkler systems and while at it, alter their landscapes by planting drought resistant plants and shrubs.

Cagle would advise golf courses and outdoor swimming pool folks to dig wells for water to make their greens "green" and deep end of their pools "deep."

Cagle and the rest of his following should be championing more water resources, lobbying the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to change their 1950s "how to run a lake" book to fit the water issues of the 2000s. He and the rest should be making permanent the most stringent of water restrictions and make Georgia the model of good stewards of our natural resources. What we don't need is Cagle making the rest of us in the state look like idiots by standing by while he contemplates ways to waste our resources.

We expect more from our state leadership, especially someone from our own neck of the woods. It appears once you get inside the beltway of Atlanta, common sense is just so much baggage that needs to be dumped. Either get with the program, Mr. Cagle, or pack your bags and come on home and relearn the lessons surely you were taught as a "young 'un."

Randy Wewers