The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) is a collaborative federal, state, tribal and local interagency effort to improve early warning capacity and resilience to drought in the ACF Basin. This region encompasses the basin’s headwaters in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia, part of southeastern Alabama and the panhandle of Florida. The DEWS was initiated with a kick-off meeting in Lake Blackshear, GA in December 2009, following an unprecedented drought from mid-2006 to early 2008 in northern Georgia and Alabama.
Municipal, Agricultural, Recreation and Transportation Compete for Water
Competing needs in the ACF basin include:
- growing water demands in the Atlanta metropolitan area in the northern portion of the basin
- increasing irrigation demands in southwestern Georgia
- municipal water needs for small towns, and
- water needs for both recreation and transportation.
In addition to these needs, there are ecologically sensitive fish and mussels in the Flint River and the oyster industry of Apalachicola Bay. There have been more than 20 years of ongoing disputes among the states of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia concerning water allocation in the upper and lower portions of the basin. Droughts can increase these conflicts, increasing the need for a proactive DEWS that effectively prepares for and assists in mitigating adverse drought impacts.
- NIDIS ACF Drought Webinar – NIDIS ACF River Basin Drought Asssessment Webinar - Join the ACF monthly drought and climate webinar, sponsored by NIDIS and Auburn University Water Resources Center. The webinar will provide updated information on the climate, water, and drought status of the ACF River Basin. To sign up for webinars or to view a recent webinar summary visit the Auburn University ACF Basin Drought Webinar page
- ACF DEWS Strategic Plan Workshop - ACF local stakeholders participated in a workshop on October 12 and 13, 2016 at Auburn University to inform the ACF DEWS Strategic Plan. The 2017-2018 Strategic Plan is available here.
- ACF Stakeholder Management Plan approved – The first proposed water management plan for the ACF developed over a 6-year period with thousands of volunteer and technical professional hours.
- Update to the USACE water control plans and manuals for the ACF Basin – A draft water control manual and EIS has been released to the public for comments.
- Effect of ENSO-Induced Climate Variability on Groundwater Levels in the ACF – Study on the connection between ENSO and groundwater levels. Results may be used to better manage local groundwater levels. In Dry Times, Fall 2014 NIDIS newsletter, pages 10-11.
- Impacts of climate variability cycles on baseflow levels in the Flint River – The impacts of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) on baseflow were studied. In Dry Times, Fall 2015 NIDIS newsletter, page 4.
- Southeast Water Managers and Use of Climate Information – An assessment among water managers in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia of awareness, perception, barriers, and opportunities associated with utilizing climate information.
- Collaboration with the City of Auburn to improve the use of climate forecasts – SECC worked with the City to improve their use of climate forecasts to reduce the impact of drought on water supply and demand. In Fall 2011 NIDIS newsletter, page 5.
- NIDIS stakeholder workshops - A series of sub-basin meetings in the three major areas of the basin and two full-basin drought forums to assess stakeholders’ competing needs concerning water availability and drought in the region.
- Evaluation of the ACF DEWS activities, Nov 2014
- Detailed learning modules and summary fact sheets on climate forecasting and climate variability for the Southeastern U.S. Developed by the Auburn University Water Resources Center:
- Informational fact sheets on Drought Indicators and Management in the ACF River Basin. Developed by the Auburn University Water Resources Center.
- An assessment of the 2016 Southeastern drought and wildfires is available here.