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Locals named to regional water council
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Two Dawson County residents were among 25 in the Coosa North Georgia region named to the governor’s regional water planning councils.


Mike Berg, chairman of the Dawson County Board of Commissioners, and Pat Gober, a local cattle farmer with hay fields, were announced as Dawson County’s representatives to the council.


Sen. Chip Pearson, R-Dawsonville, will serve as an ex-officio member of the Coosa North Georgia Council, which will play a key role in the statewide water planning process, according to Gov. Sonny Perdue.


“The individuals we have selected are solution-oriented and will provide visionary water resource planning,” Perdue said. “These appointments reflect a diverse group of Georgians and each one has a unique skill set and knowledge base, which will allow the councils to focus on water resource issues while also addressing the state’s economic needs.”


Berg, who helped with the statewide water management policy plan draft on the Coosa-Tallapoosa-Tennesee Basin in 2006, said the opportunity to sit on the council is an opportunity for Dawson County.


“This gives Dawson County representation. We’ll have a say in the water in the three basins in our council,” he said.


The Comprehensive Statewide Water Management Plan, approved by the General Assembly in 2008, created 10 water planning regions. Each of these regions will have a water planning council to represent the water interests unique to their respective regions.


“Water will remain a key issue for our state and I am very pleased with the group of individuals selected to move forward with a responsible, long-term plan,” said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. “This list includes well-rounded men and women who expand across industries and regions.”


Each council consists of 25 members, three alternates and an ex-officio member from both the House and Senate. The councils include representatives from agriculture, forestry, industry, commerce, local governments, water utilities, regional development centers, tourism, recreation and environmental groups.


Gober said his intent on the council is to represent the farmers of the region.


“When Farm Bureau held water meetings last year in the surrounding counties, 50-75 percent of those that turned out were farmers concerned about having water for their livestock and for their crops,” he said.


The councils will oversee preparation of regional water development and conservation plans for their planning regions. These plans will focus on both water quantity and water quality issues, and will include forecasts of future water supply and wastewater treatment needs.


“Water is something everybody’s got to have, and we’ve got to make sure we have what we need,” Gober said. “How we’re going to do that and what we’re going to be able to do, I can’t tell you yet, but we need the representation.”