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About the ACF River Basin DEWS

map fo Alabam, Georgia and Florida showing outline of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin

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.