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Water Conservation Tools For Local Governments And Citizens Georgia Department of Community Affairs Office of Environmental Management.

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1 Water Conservation Tools For Local Governments And Citizens Georgia Department of Community Affairs Office of Environmental Management

2 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

3 How Much Water Does One Person Need? Every day, the average American uses from gallons of water.

4 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.

5 Population Growth in Georgia

6 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! A Water Crisis ?

7 Natures Boundaries Georgia Department of Community Affairs

8 Watershed Protection Provides: 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

9 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

10 WATER STRESSES: Conflicts over Shared Water Resources Downstream states are concerned with impacts of future water demands in Georgia. Competing water needs create conflict over management of federal reservoirs. Interstate agreements would restrict future water allocations in portions of Georgia. Ga EPD

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12 Drought in Georgia Georgias most recent drought lasted from 1998 through 2002 Equivalent loss of a years 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

13 Critical and Watch Municipal Water Supplies – August 2000 Orange: Critical cities and counties – less than one months drinking water supply available Yellow: Watch cities and counties – more than one months supply, but verging on critical levels Source: EPD Drought Report

14 Drought in Georgia Web Site

15 Drought Report Recommended Water Conservation - State must develop comprehensive water conservation plan Emergency Relief - State should provide emergency grants and loans to assist local governments Water Supply - State must fund the implementation of the Water Supply Act of 1989 to build regional reservoirs

16 Drought Report Recommended 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

17 Drought Report Recommended State Drought Plan - State must continue developing a comprehensive drought plan and drought management process to implement appropriate drought response, preparedness and mitigation measures in future droughts The Drought Management Plan was finalized in March 2003

18 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!

19 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

20 Water Conservation Why Some Local Governments Dont 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

21 Water Conservation Why Some Individuals Dont 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 Dont care about the water needs of other people

22 Water Conservation Where Do We Start? Water has been cheap and plentiful. We need to stop taking it for granted! Adopt a watershed mentality-everyone has a need for clean water Even modest reductions by Georgias 8.2 million residents will result in big savings!

23 Water Conservation Focus Areas Residential and Business Indoor Residential and Business Outdoor Industrial and Commercial Agricultural

24 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 areas rivers and streams and to ensure adequate water to meet future demands

25 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

26 Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District 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 The 11 recommended measures:

27 Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District 4.Enact legislation to require rain sensor shut- off switches on new irrigation systems 5.Require sub-unit water meters in new multi- family buildings 6.Assess and reduce water system leakage 7.Conduct residential water audits 8.Distribute low-flow retrofit kits to residential users

28 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 performance

29 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

30 DCA Water Conservation Brochure Large quantities of the brochure can be ordered by calling Joe Dunlop at You may also view or download the brochure at

31 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.

32 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.

33 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 dishwashers If you dont 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 nationwide

34 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. ( gpf~$0.50)

35 Reuse Water Unused or slightly used water (gray water) is often suitable for other uses, but local restrictions may apply. 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

36 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 evaporation 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

37 Outdoor Watering Home water meters for hoses and shower heads are now available at

38 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

39 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:

40 Outdoor Watering Xeriscaping: 7 Steps for Water Efficient Landscapes Proper planning and design with low, medium and high water- use 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

41 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

42 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

43 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)

44 Agricultural Conservation Improve EPDs 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

45 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 or call EPD at (404) , (888) (outside Atlanta) Stop!

46 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 state- wide drought management and water conservation plans

47 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) , Pollution Prevention Assistance Division (P2AD) Assists industrial, commercial and institutional water users with their water efficiency efforts: (404) , Environmental Protection Division (EPD) Regulates water use among the various water consumers in the state, including water conservation plans and withdrawal permits: (404) , DNR Water Conservation Program Plans and coordinates water conservation efforts statewide:

48 More Useful Web Sites Drought in Georgia web site –http://www.georgiadrought.org/http://www.georgiadrought.org/ Georgia Water Wise Council –Provides information on xeriscaping, water efficiency, Water Sourcebook, and more: Water Conservation Devices –Niagara Conservation: –NRG Savers: 100 Water Saving Tips –Water Use It Wisely:

49 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:

50 Water Resources Toolkit for Local Governments CD Now available online! Tools for Protecting Georgias Water Resources 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…

51 A convenient Users Menu will open when you insert the CD

52 Each topic tab on the left contains numerous resources

53 This Excel spreadsheet calculates estimated savings from various water conservation devices and programs

54 ArcExplorer Watersheds of Georgia CDs Tools for Protecting Georgias Water Resources This set of two CDs contains Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping data for all of Georgias 52 Large Watersheds, with 18 useful data layers, instructions on loading and using the GIS data viewer, and more...

55 Acknowledgements 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.


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