Water Conservation Tools
Local Governments And
Georgia Department of Community Affairs
Office of Environmental Management
We Depend on
Clean Water Daily!
• 372 billion gallons/day in the U.S.
• 5.8 billion gallons/day in Georgia
– 2.7 billion gallons for:
• public supply and private wells (47%)
• agriculture (28%)
• industrial activities (25%)
– 3.1 billion gallons for:
• electric power generation
How Much Water Does One
Person Need?
Every day, the average American uses from
100-150 gallons of water.
Residential Water Use
Georgia Water Sources
• 80% of our water comes from
surface water and 20% comes
from ground water withdrawals.
• In the Atlanta region, 85% comes
from surface water withdrawals
with more than half originating
from the Chattahoochee River.
Population Growth in Georgia
Total population (millions)
Census year
A Water Crisis ?
• Continuing growth, development and
population increases in many areas are
straining existing water supplies
• Local governments and adjacent states are
competing for available water sources
• Indoor and outdoor water conservation is
not widely practiced in Georgia
• Conserved water is the cheapest supply!
Nature’s Boundaries
Georgia Department of Community Affairs
Watershed Protection
• A comprehensive land use planning and
implementation process to protect rivers, streams,
lakes and other waters;
• A process to address the disruption of the natural
drainage flows caused by development; and
• A method to address wastewater discharges, storm
water runoff, nonpoint sources of pollution, and
water conservation
Water Issues Vary
• North Georgia is concerned with surface water
availability for continued growth and development
• Coastal and Southeast Georgia are affected by
growth and by salt water intrusion into the aquifers
• Southwest Georgia is concerned with agricultural
withdrawals and ground and surface water issues
• Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) and
Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) river
basins are the focus of the tri-state “Water Wars”
Conflicts over Shared Water Resources
• Downstream states are
concerned with impacts of
future water demands in
• Competing water needs
create conflict over
management of federal
• Interstate agreements
would restrict future water
allocations in portions of
Drought in Georgia
• Georgia’s most recent drought lasted from 1998
through 2002
• Equivalent loss of a year’s worth of rain in first
three years’ rainfall
• Surface water flows were greatly reduced
• Reservoir storage was depleted
• Groundwater was lowered, wells dried up
• Soil moisture was low, crops were affected
“State must develop a comprehensive water
conservation plan” -EPD Drought Report
Critical and Watch Municipal Water Supplies – August 2000
Source: EPD Drought Report
Orange: Critical cities and counties – less than one month’s
drinking water supply available
Yellow: Watch cities and counties – more than one month’s
supply, but verging on critical levels
Drought in Georgia Web Site
1998-2000 Drought Report
• Water Conservation - State must develop
comprehensive water conservation plan
• Emergency Relief - State should provide
emergency grants and loans to assist local
• Water Supply - State must fund the
implementation of the Water Supply Act of
1989 to build regional reservoirs
1998-2000 Drought Report
• Agricultural Water Use - State must
develop an effective method to evaluate
consumptive use of water for agricultural
irrigation and implement a plan to reduce
water use
• State Water Plan - State must perform a
detailed review of existing water policy and
laws and develop a comprehensive state
water plan
All Is Not Lost!
Huge Gains Can Be Made
Through Conservation
Los Angeles, CA has maintained its
water use at a constant level despite
continued growth and development.
Georgia and the Atlanta Metro Area
can do the same!
Water Conservation
Why Should We Do It?
(more reasons than a drought)
• Reduce personal and business water costs
• Minimize the need for local governments to
fund expensive reservoirs, water treatment and
wastewater plants, and pipeline projects
• Help maintain sufficient water in streams,
rivers, lakes and estuaries for fishing, boating,
swimming, protection of aquatic life and
downstream users (we all live downstream!)
• More efficient irrigation means less polluted
runoff into receiving waters
Water Conservation
Why Some Local Governments
Don’t Support It
• Loss of revenue from water sales by the utility
• Perception that a community is not prepared
for future growth and may therefore lose new
residential, commercial and industrial
development opportunities
• Backlash from citizens, businesses and
industries adversely affected by water
conservation measures and restrictions
Water Conservation
Why Some Individuals
Don’t Support It
• Water is relatively cheap, even for heavy users
• Have a large investment in lawn or landscaping
• Do not believe that there is a water crisis when
there is no drought
• Don’t care about the water needs of other
Water Conservation
Where Do We Start?
• Water has been cheap and plentiful.
need to stop taking it for granted!
• Adopt a watershed mentality-everyone has
a need for clean water
• Even modest reductions by Georgia’s 8.2
million residents will result in big savings!
Water Conservation Focus Areas
Residential and Business Indoor
Residential and Business Outdoor
Industrial and Commercial
Metropolitan North Georgia Water
Planning District
• 16 counties in metro Atlanta
area are working together to
address wastewater,
stormwater, water supply and
conservation planning
• Goal is to protect the area’s
rivers and streams and to
ensure adequate water to
meet future demands
Metropolitan North Georgia Water
Planning District
• Analyzed water resources and considered a wide variety
of water conservation measures
• Recommended 11 conservation measures to be adopted
by local governments in the MNGWPD area
• Estimated they can achieve an 11% reduction in 2030
water demand (136 million gallons per day), compared
to no measures
• Measures should be of interest to cities and counties in
other parts of the state
Metropolitan North Georgia Water
Planning District
The 11 recommended measures:
1. Establish conservation pricing by all
District utilities
2. Enact legislation to require plumbing
retrofits on home sales
3. Enact legislation to require low-flush
urinals for new industrial, commercial
and institutional buildings
Metropolitan North Georgia Water
Planning District
4. Enact legislation to require rain sensor shutoff switches on new irrigation systems
5. Require sub-unit water meters in new multifamily buildings
6. Assess and reduce water system leakage
7. Conduct residential water audits
8. Distribute low-flow retrofit kits to residential
Metropolitan North Georgia Water
Planning District
9. Conduct commercial water audits
10. Implement an education and public
awareness plan
11. Establish review and oversight of water
conservation implementation and
Basic components of a water
conserving community
What you should be doing:
– Economize through behavioral changes and leak repair
– Install water saving devices
– Reuse water
– Practice water conservation with outside watering
– Observe water restrictions
What your local government can/should be doing:
– Educating users and then enforcing water restrictions
– Promoting installation of water saving devices (rebates,
free kits and home/business water audits)
– Implementing changes in its own System Management
DCA Water Conservation Brochure
Large quantities of the brochure can be ordered by calling Joe Dunlop
at 404-679-1598. You may also view or download the brochure at
Ways to Economize
• Turn off the tap when brushing teeth, washing
face, or shaving
• Take shorter showers or reduce the flow
• Use the minimum amount of bath water
• Wash full loads of dishes or clothes or use proper
load setting
• Repair any leaks in faucets or toilets. Special dye
tablets or food coloring in the toilet tank can be
used to detect leaking flapper valve.
Ways to Economize
• Minimize the use of kitchen sink disposals, try
home composting instead!
• Store drinking water in the refrigerator to avoid
running water for a cool drink
• Do not use running water to thaw meat or other
frozen foods. Thaw overnight in refrigerator
• When washing dishes by hand fill one sink with
soapy water and rinse with slow stream of water
from faucet.
Install Water Saving Devices
• When buying new appliances, look for water
saving features such as load size selectors for
washing machines and selectable wash cycles for
• If you don’t have them, install low-flow toilets to
save up to 5.5 gallons of water with each flush.
Ultra low-flow toilets (1.6 gpf) are required for
new construction or remodeling in Georgia, and
Install Water Saving Devices
• Install faucet aerators to significantly
reduce water use (.8 gpm savings~$2.00)
• Install low-flow showerheads or flow
regulators in your existing shower (1.25
gpm savings~$5.00)
• Install water displacement devices such
as milk jugs, bags or dams in toilet tanks
(up to 2.5 gpf~$0.59 or $4.00)
• Install fill cycle diverters to redirect refill
water into the tank. (.5-1.0 gpf~$0.50)
Reuse Water
• Unused or slightly used water (gray water) is often
suitable for other uses, but local restrictions may
• Make the most of any water before you let it go
down the drain
• Air conditioner and dehumidifier condensate water
can be collected or redirected to water outside plants
• Rainwater can be captured in rain barrels or tanks
Outdoor Watering
• Use a hose nozzle for watering and car washing
• Use a rain gauge to determine how much rain and
irrigation your lawn and landscape receives, to avoid
over-watering (about 1” per week needed)
• Position sprinklers so water does not land on street,
sidewalk or driveway
• Water lawns between 9pm and 9am to minimize loss to
• Check operation of automated irrigation systems and
avoid watering when rain is expected
• Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses, not sprinklers, for
garden and landscape plants
Outdoor Watering
Home water meters for hoses and shower heads
are now available at http://www.h2owatch.net
Outdoor Watering
• Do not hose down your sidewalk or driveway;
use a broom or leaf blower
• Check hoses for splits and leaky connections
• Avoid water features unless water is recycled
• If you have a pool, consider a new water-saving
pool filter. A single backflushing with
conventional filter uses 180 to 250 gallons
• Wash your car on the grass, turning off water
except when necessary, or use a commercial car
wash. This will also avoid runoff pollution into
storm drains and streams
Outdoor Watering
Average residential water use increases 30% to 50% during
the summer months due to outdoor watering
Xeriscaping is quality landscaping that conserves water
and protects the environment, without sacrificing the
beauty of your yard
A Georgia Xeriscape Guide is available online at:
Outdoor Watering
Xeriscaping: 7 Steps for Water Efficient Landscapes
•Proper planning and design with low, medium and high wateruse zones, sufficient shade areas and desirable plant types
•Soil analysis and improvement
•Selection of appropriate plants adapted to site and water needs
•Practical turf areas for recreation, aesthetics or erosion control
•Efficient irrigation to prevent runoff and reduce evaporative loss
•Use of mulches to hold moisture and minimize maintenance
•Appropriate maintenance to discourage new growth and avoid
plant stress
Other Ideas
• Look for water conservation initiatives
in your area and help promote them
• Support teaching of the EPA Water
Sourcebook Series in schools, as promoted
by the Georgia Water Wise Council, or other
water education tools
• Patronize businesses that practice and
promote water conservation
Getting The Word Out
• Community and special websites
• Public service announcements (PSAs) on
radio and television stations
• Newpaper notices and articles
• Public meetings and presentations
• Brochures and other handouts
• Mailouts in water bills
• Door Hangers
Changes in System Management for
Local Governments
• Incentive-based Pricing (increase price with demand,
summer surcharges, etc.)
• Universal Metering (a meter for each unit in an
apartment or housing complex, for example)
• Pressure Management
• Water Accounting and Loss Control (<10% loss)
• Water-Use Regulation, i.e. restrictions
• Use of reclaimed wastewater for golf courses, etc.
The Pollution Prevention Assistance Division (P2AD) can lend
technical assistance in these areas and with industrial and
commercial water conservation. Judy Adler (404) 657-7444
Agricultural Conservation
• Improve EPD’s agricultural
water withdrawal permitting
system (21,000 permits now)
• Start measuring farm water
use with meters (HB 579)
• More efficient irrigation
(improved sprinklers, soil
moisture sensors, water use
audits, etc.)
• Drip irrigation systems
State Actions
Water Restrictions
When water restrictions are in effect:
• EPD's intent is to curtail water use by residential
and business water users
• Local water utilities may expand the restrictions
For the current water restrictions in Georgia:
• check out http://www.georgiadrought.org/
• or call EPD at (404) 657-5947, (888) 373-5947
(outside Atlanta)
State Actions
• Water Conservation Plans are required from local
government and industrial water users that have
groundwater or surface water withdrawal permits or permit
modifications, except agriculture
• EPD prohibits use of water from a regional reservoir until
the local government has demonstrated an effective water
conservation program, including water conservation pricing.
• DNR has created a new Water Conservation Coordinator
position to coordinate efforts and expedite action on statewide drought management and water conservation plans
Ga Government Web Sites
• Department of Community Affairs (DCA)
Provides resources and technical assistance to local governments and
Keep America Beautiful Affiliates that want to promote water
conservation among residents: (404) 679-4940,
• Pollution Prevention Assistance Division (P2AD)
Assists industrial, commercial and institutional water users with their
water efficiency efforts: (404) 651-5120, http://www.p2ad.org
• Environmental Protection Division (EPD)
Regulates water use among the various water consumers in the state,
including water conservation plans and withdrawal permits:
(404) 657-5847, http://www.georgianet.org/dnr/environ/
• DNR Water Conservation Program
Plans and coordinates water conservation efforts statewide:
More Useful Web Sites
• Drought in Georgia web site
– http://www.georgiadrought.org/
• Georgia Water Wise Council
– Provides information on xeriscaping, water efficiency,
Water Sourcebook, and more: http://www.gwwc.org/
• Water Conservation Devices
– Niagara Conservation:
– NRG Savers: http://www.nrgsavers.com/products.htm
• 100 Water Saving Tips
– Water Use It Wisely: http://wateruseitwisely.com/
More Useful Web Sites
Water Conserving Communities in Georgia
– Chatham County/Savannah Water Efficiency Program:
– Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority:
– Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District
(requires water conservation measures in Atlanta area):
Other States
– California Urban Water Conservation Council:
– Crescenta Valley Water District toilet rebate program:
– City of Albuquerque:
Tools for Protecting Georgia’s Water Resources
Water Resources Toolkit for Local
Governments CD
Now available online!
Current regulatory, educational and decision support
information on numerous water topics, including
water conservation and drought management.
Contains hundreds of items, including summary
sheets, reference lists, guidance documents,
brochures, PowerPoint presentations, videos, Web
sites, maps, and much more…
A convenient User’s Menu will open when you insert the CD
Each topic tab on the left contains numerous resources
This Excel spreadsheet calculates estimated savings from
various water conservation devices and programs
Tools for Protecting Georgia’s Water Resources
Watersheds of
Georgia CDs
This set of two CDs contains
Geographic Information
System (GIS) mapping data
for all of Georgia’s 52 Large
Watersheds, with 18 useful
data layers, instructions on
loading and using the GIS
data viewer, and more...
This presentation was prepared by the Georgia
Department of Community Affairs, using
information available from the US Environmental
Protection Agency, Georgia DNR Environmental
Protection Division and Pollution Prevention
Assistance Division, UGA College of Agriculture
and Environmental Sciences, Georgia Water Wise
Council, and Niagara Conservation Co.

WATER Our Planet`s Most Precious Resource Georgia Department