Effective Jan. 1, 2016, property owners can no longer irrigate their property bordering South Atlantic Division reservoirs with water from the reservoirs. This includes irrigating gardens and lawns. The prohibition brings South Atlantic Division shoreline use permits into consistency with federal law. This change impacts certain Shoreline Use Permit (SUP) holders at Hartwell Lake and J. Strom Thurmond Lake in the Savannah District.
At any Corps of Engineers reservoir, use of the water must follow purposes established by Congress. Federal laws establishing the Savannah District reservoirs and their purposes do not include irrigation as an authorized purpose, even in seemingly small amounts.* The Savannah District, therefore, has no authority to allow adjacent landowners to withdraw water from the reservoirs for irrigation.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, users may not pump or remove water from any South Atlantic Division reservoir beyond the floating dock area. Dock permit holders may continue to use non-potable water from the reservoir to rinse docks and boats, but only at the floating dock so that water falls back into the reservoir.
SUP holders with current authority to irrigate from the reservoir may continue to do so until the expiration of their current SUP. The non-potable right-of-way section of the SUP will be removed during the next renewal of the SUP. This will reduce the SUP renewal cost by $35.
Before renewal of the SUP, the buried, non-potable water line may be abandoned in place but must be capped at the shoreline where it emerges from underground. Pumps currently located on docks may remain but may only be used at the dock. The location of the pump and the restrictions on its use must be noted on the renewed SUP.
For more information on Shoreline Use Permits, please contact the Hartwell Project office at 888-893-0678, or the J. Strom Thurmond Project office at 800-533-3478. Ask for the Shoreline Management Office.
* Water Supply Act of 1958, Sect 6 of the 1944 Flood Control Act (PL 78-534)