Your article in the April 5 issue concerning the stormwater utility and damages being caused by aggressive development in Columbia County is right on target. Your writer, however, overlooked the most pressing problem at hand: the unacceptable siltation of the creeks and streams throughout the county.
As a property owner living adjacent to Crawford Creek, I can verify this creek is terribly silted up and the flow to the Savannah River has been both permanently altered and damaged almost to a point of no return. This is not solely the problem of the county government, but it must bear some responsibility.
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources should be closely questioned about its role in restocking of beavers that have done their midnight work to further aggravate and dam up the already restricted flow of water to the river. If it stocked them, let it remove them.
To correct these problems will cost millions of dollars. Meanwhile unabated development goes on and property owners downstream now see their lands being inundated by repeated flooding and further siltation. This amounts to the involuntary taking of private property results in unearned benefits for upstream developments. This poses serious legal questions for both the county and developers.
What should be done?
-- First, the county should ask for the input of the Corps of Engineers, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the public at large. Large retention ponds located in strategic areas should be built, and revenues could be generated from these by selling shares to developers who need water retention protection.
-- Second, the creeks in all parts of the county should be improved to allow water flow to the river.
-- Third, there should be a study on how best to finance these problems without having to wait 20 years for them to be corrected.
As Columbia County approaches a 100,000 population, there is little time to waste. Let's get on with correcting these urgent drainage issues sooner rather than later.
Robert Roy Goodwin II, Evans