The U.S. Small Business Administration announced Monday that it will accept applications for loan assistance for Georgia enterprises in 12 counties affected by the drought. The aid program targets farm-related and other entities not covered by aid from the Department of Agriculture.
Despite recent rainstorms, drought continues to grip Georgia, and water levels are dropping in the state’s large, federally run reservoirs. And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects they will keep dropping unless more sustained rains fall.
More than half of U.S. counties now are classified by the federal government as natural disaster areas mostly because of the drought. The U.S. Agriculture Department on Wednesday added 218 counties in a dozen states as disaster areas, including six in Georgia.
Under new U.S. Department of Agriculture rules announced Thursday, all but a handful of Georgia counties are considered disaster areas because of ongoing drought. The department is trying to shorten the time between a disaster and making aid available to farmers.
A report released Thursday by the River Network says electricity production in Georgia is threatening rivers and power generation. It also says the state’s once ample water supply is declining along with water quality.