Presentation on theme: "Water Conservation Tools For Local Governments And Citizens Georgia Department of Community Affairs Office of Environmental Management Title Slide: Today."— Presentation transcript:
1 Water Conservation Tools For Local Governments And Citizens Georgia Department of Community Affairs Office of Environmental ManagementTitle Slide: Today we are going to talk about water conservation: what it means, why we should practice it, and the many ways that local governments and individuals can save water and protect our environment.
2 We Depend on Clean Water Daily! 372 billion gallons/day in the U.S.5.8 billion gallons/day in Georgia2.7 billion gallons for:public supply and private wells (47%)agriculture (28%)industrial activities (25%)3.1 billion gallons for:electric power generationWe all have a need for clean water, and Americans use a lot of it. It is estimated that 372 billion gallons of water are used every day in our country. In Georgia, we use almost 6 billion gallons per day. Over half of that is used as cooling water for power plants, but the rest is used by individuals, on farms, and by industries. Everyone needs to know 3 simple facts about water conservation: water is a limited resource, water costs a great deal in energy and money to store, pump and purify, and water consumption can be reduced significantly for all of these uses.
3 How Much Water Does One Person Need? Every day, the average American uses from gallons of water.It is interesting to look at how people use water in their homes, so we can determine the best way to conserve it. We know that the average person needs anywhere from 100 to 150 gallons a day (depending on how this is calculated. This is not just water for drinking, bathing and toilet flushing, but also includes water for lawns and landscaping (especially in the summer), washing machines, dish washers and more. When we look at this pie chart, we see that the biggest uses are for outdoor watering, followed by toilets, clothes washing, showers, and faucets. We will come back to these uses when we talk later about how to conserve water.
4 Georgia Water Sources80% 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.Let's look at where our water comes from and why there is a real need to conserve it. Most people in Georgia get their water from surface water, meaning streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs. The rest get their water from ground water, which means either community or individual wells. This does not mean that there are more surface water sources than wells, but rather that many large population centers like Atlanta, Augusta and Columbus use water from rivers and lakes. In the Atlanta area, for example, about 85% of the water comes from surface water, with over half coming from the Chattahoochee River. The rest comes from Lake Lanier and other nearby rivers.
5 Population Growth in Georgia Look how Georgia’s population has grown over the last few decades. Many of these people are concentrated in the metropolitan Atlanta area, of course.
6 A Water Crisis ?Continuing growth, development and population increases in many areas are straining existing water suppliesLocal governments and adjacent states are competing for available water sourcesIndoor and outdoor water conservation is not widely practiced in GeorgiaConserved water is the cheapest supply!Is there a water crisis? Many people think that Georgia has plenty of water, since most of the state receives an average rainfall of over 46 inches per year. The problem, however, is that much of the water in our state is not in the right place for the populations that need it, even when we are not in a drought. Georgia is experiencing rapid growth in many parts of the state. The metro Atlanta area grew from 1.39 million persons in 1960 to 4.11 million in The amount of surface water needed in the Atlanta area has grown from about 200 million gallons per day in 1960 to just under 1,000 million gallons per day in This large increase in population and other needs such as industry and electric power generation have put a strain on many existing water supplies. Cities and counties are now competing with each other for clean water sources, and even adjacent states, particularly Florida and Alabama, are trying to ensure that they get can get enough water from the rivers we share with them. However, Georgians do not conserve as much water as they can, compared to some other states. Instead of looking for new sources of water, which are very expensive to develop, we should be looking first at conservation, which is a much more cost-effective way to increase available water.
7 Nature’s Boundaries Georgia Department of Community Affairs To understand Georgia's water needs, we need to talk a little about watersheds and river basins. A watershed is simply the area of land where rainfall (or snowmelt) runs off to a particular stream, river, lake or even the ocean. A watershed can be any size, from the area around a small stream in your neighborhood, to the huge watershed for the entire Chattahoochee River, which we would call a river basin. In Georgia, we divide the state into 52 large watersheds, which can be combined into 14 river basins. For example, the Upper, Middle and Lower Flint River watersheds, as well as the Kinchafoonee-Muckalee, Ichaway-Nochaway and Spring River watersheds, are all in the Flint River Basin. Watersheds are also important to our groundwater levels, since it is the surface water percolating down through the earth that recharges our aquifers and keeps water in our wells, as well as providing some water to streams during dry weather. As the land in a watershed becomes more developed by man, the natural vegetation is replaced by impervious surfaces, such as roads, parking lots and rooftops. When this happens, water runs off more quickly during rain events, and less of it reaches the aquifers. The natural drainage patterns of the watershed are changed and there is generally less surface and groundwater available over the long run. In addition, the many contaminants that fall on the ground from our everyday activities, known as nonpoint source pollution, run off quickly into streams and lakes.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; andA method to address wastewater discharges, storm water runoff, nonpoint sources of pollution, and water conservationWatersheds and river basins of different sizes are useful for planning purposes, and in recent years the concept of watershed protection has become more developed. In a single watershed there may be many cities and counties, which must work together to protect their water resources. In this way, water quality and quantity problems can be addressed in a coordinated manner over the entire watershed, not just in individual jurisdictions. As we will see, water conservation is an important component of water resources management and watershed protection.
9 Water Issues VaryNorth Georgia is concerned with surface water availability for continued growth and developmentCoastal and Southeast Georgia are affected by growth and by salt water intrusion into the aquifersSouthwest Georgia is concerned with agricultural withdrawals and ground and surface water issuesAlabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) and Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) river basins are the focus of the tri-state “Water Wars”Water issues in Georgia vary widely across the state. In North Georgia, one of the biggest concerns is surface water availability, because much of this area is not geologically suited for wells. Metro Atlanta and some other population centers in this area are already pushed to the limit to provide water and sewer service to their residents, and are looking at many options to gain more capacity. In Coastal Georgia, there is rapid growth in some areas, but also contamination of the groundwater aquifers with salt water, as the result of too much water being taken out of wells. For this reason, some areas of Coastal Georgia can no longer increase their well withdrawals, and are required by EPD to decrease water use through water conservation programs. In Southwest Georgia, there is more focus on agricultural users of both surface and ground waters. Permits for future water withdrawals are now restricted in some areas and farmers will be required to monitor the amount of water they withdraw. Georgia is also involved in the so-called "water wars" with Florida and Alabama, over the amount of water each state can withdraw from rivers shared by these three states.
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.If we look at the ACT and ACF River Basins, we can see how these vast watersheds are shared by Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Both basins originate in Georgia before entering the other states, however, so our downstream neighbors are rightly concerned about how much water may actually reach them as Georgia continues to increases its water needs. Management of the rivers and reservoirs are therefore key issues in the tri-state water wars.Ga EPD
11 You will notice that we have not mentioned drought as a reason for conserving water. This is because water conservation is a good idea all the time, not just during droughts. However, a drought does focus people's attention on water conservation, as well as many other aspects of water resource management. Unfortunately, after a drought many people wrongly assume that the crisis is over and become less interested in conserving and protecting our water resources.
12 Drought in GeorgiaGeorgia’s most recent drought lasted from through 2002Equivalent loss of a year’s worth of rain in first three years’ rainfallSurface water flows were greatly reducedReservoir storage was depletedGroundwater was lowered, wells dried upSoil moisture was low, crops were affected“State must develop a comprehensive water conservation plan” -EPD Drought ReportGeorgia's most recent drought was severe, and lasted from 1998 through In the first three years of this drought, we lost the equivalent of a whole year's worth of rain. The drought greatly reduced stream and river flows and caused lakes and reservoirs to reach record low levels. As less surface water became available for groundwater recharge, aquifer levels dropped and many wells went dry. Soil moisture for crops was very low in many areas and crops were severely impacted.
13 Critical and Watch Municipal Water Supplies – August 2000 This is a very interesting slide. It shows the cities and counties in Georgia that had less than one month’s supply of water in their reservoir or other water source, and others that were verging on that condition, at the height of the drought. That’s a lot of people getting pretty close to having no water in their taps!Source: EPD Drought ReportOrange: Critical cities and counties – less than one month’s drinking water supply availableYellow: Watch cities and counties – more than one month’s supply, but verging on critical levels
14 Drought in Georgia Web Site During the drought, the University of Georgia started the Drought in Georgia Web site. This site is still maintained and is a great source of information on current watering restrictions, climate data, water conservation measures for home, garden, agriculture and livestock, and much more. Many useful publications are also available on the web site.
15 1998-2000 Drought Report Recommended Water Conservation - State must develop comprehensive water conservation planEmergency Relief - State should provide emergency grants and loans to assist local governmentsWater Supply - State must fund the implementation of the Water Supply Act of 1989 to build regional reservoirsIn the middle of the drought, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) issued the Drought Report, which examined the water resources available in Georgia and made recommendations for improvements. Some of these recommendations are now being implemented, including development of a state water conservation plan. Other items, such as funding for regional reservoirs, have not yet been implemented.
16 1998-2000 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 useState Water Plan - State must perform a detailed review of existing water policy and laws and develop a comprehensive state water planThe state is in the process of evaluating agriculture water use and has completed a comprehensive water resources study with recommendations for a state water plan, which will require some controversial legislation to implement.
17 1998-2000 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 droughtsGeorgia has also developed a State Drought Management Plan, which should help the state respond to future droughts during the early stages in order to lessen the affects of it.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!Let's take a closer look now at water conservation measures. We know from the experience of various cities, counties and states that water conservation does work, and can make a significant difference in the amount of available water. One of the most frequently cited examples is the Los Angeles area, where over a million new people have been added, but water use has remained relatively constant. This feat has been achieved through a number of common, as well as innovative, water conservation measures.
19 Water Conservation Why Should We Do It? (more reasons than a drought) Reduce personal and business water costsMinimize the need for local governments to fund expensive reservoirs, water treatment and wastewater plants, and pipeline projectsHelp 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 watersWhy should people be interested in water conservation? There are many reasons. One is the monetary savings for both individuals and businesses. While water may be cheap now compared to other utilities like gas and electricity, we will probably see that change as water needs become more critical. On a larger scale, conserving water can reduce the need for cities and counties to fund and build more reservoirs, drinking water treatment plants and pipelines, and even wastewater treatment plants, which must also be expanded as more water is used by customers. Taxpayers therefore directly benefit from water conservation. On the environmental side, water conservation helps maintain enough water in our water bodies for fishing, boating, swimming and other recreational activities, and also protects aquatic communities of all sorts. Water conservation in the form of more efficient irrigation can also improve water quality, because fewer pollutants are washed off the land into nearby waters. Conservation is also the right thing to do to ensure that downstream users have enough water for their needs. This also applies to groundwater, since heavy withdrawals by some well owners can cause other wells to dry up. Think how you would feel if your community ran out of water because other users didn’t conserve water during critical periods! As we can see, water conservation can have a beneficial effect on many different aspects of watershed protection, including water supply, wastewater, stormwater, stream health and aquatic life.
20 Water Conservation Why Some Local Governments Don’t Support It Loss of revenue from water sales by the utilityPerception that a community is not prepared for future growth and may therefore lose new residential, commercial and industrial development opportunitiesBacklash from citizens, businesses and industries adversely affected by water conservation measures and restrictionsThese are all good reasons to practice water conservation, but there are some local governments and individuals who do not support water conservation measures. Why is this? Some local governments fear the loss of revenue from their water utilities if water use decreases by too much. This may be offset by increased water rates, however, which we will discuss later. Another fear is that the community will be perceived as being unprepared for future growth, and will not be able to provide enough water for future residential, commercial and industrial users. However, water-conserving communities may also be perceived as being proactive water managers who know how to maximize this resource for new users. There may also be complaints and backlash from some individuals, businesses and industries heavily impacted by water conservation measures. While certain activities such as nurseries, golf courses, and landscaping are more heavily affected by watering restrictions, there are often exceptions to the restrictions that help to lessen these impacts. For example, in Georgia, landscapers have more lenient restrictions during the first 30 days of a new installation, so that plants can become established before the restrictions fully apply.
21 Water Conservation Why Some Individuals Don’t Support It Water is relatively cheap, even for heavy usersHave a large investment in lawn or landscapingDo not believe that there is a water crisis when there is no droughtDon’t care about the water needs of other peopleSome individuals may also fail to support water conservation measures. Perhaps they feel that since water is relatively cheap, they can easily afford to use all they want. Perhaps they have a large investment in their lawns or landscaping and do not want to risk losing them. Some people do not believe that we have reached a critical stage in our water management in Georgia, and that there is still plenty of water, especially when we are not in the middle of a drought. Most commonly, however, people just do not care about the problems faced by other users, as long as clean water keeps flowing from their taps. One of the goals of water conservation programs is to convince users that it is in their own best interest in the long run to help conserve water.
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 waterEven modest reductions by Georgia’s 8.2 million residents will result in big savings!So where do we start with our conservation efforts, knowing that water is still cheap and plentiful in most areas? We know that we should think in terms of watersheds or even statewide if we are to make a difference. And consider the fact that if each of Georgia's residents would save just 10 gallons of water a day, which is easily achievable by small behavior changes and inexpensive water saving devices, we would have an extra 82 million gallons of water per day!
23 Water Conservation Focus Areas Residential and Business IndoorResidential and Business OutdoorIndustrial and CommercialAgriculturalWater conservation focuses on four key areas: Residential and business indoor and outdoor water use, industrial and commercial water use, and agricultural water use. Each of these areas has a different target audience and requires a different approach in order to see significant results.
24 Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District 16 counties in metro Atlanta area are working together to address wastewater, stormwater, water supply and conservation planningGoal is to protect the area’s rivers and streams and to ensure adequate water to meet future demandsTo get an idea of ways that all of these areas except agriculture can be addressed, let's take a look at the upcoming water conservation efforts of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District. The District was created by an Act of the Georgia General Assembly to address water management issues related to wastewater, water supply, stormwater and water conservation in a 16 county area. Its ultimate goal is to protect the area's rivers and streams while still allowing adequate growth and development in the region.
25 Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District Analyzed water resources and considered a wide variety of water conservation measuresRecommended 11 conservation measures to be adopted by local governments in the MNGWPD areaEstimated they can achieve an 11% reduction in 2030 water demand (136 million gallons per day), compared to no measuresMeasures should be of interest to cities and counties in other parts of the stateAs part of its planning efforts, the District's consultants looked at a wide variety of water conservation measures. An initial list of 100 measures was trimmed down to 25 and finally to 11 key measures. These measures must be adopted and implemented by the local governments in the District. It is estimated that these measures can achieve at least an 11% reduction in water demand by the year 2030, equivalent to 136 million gallons per day, as compared to no measures being implemented. If the implementation of these measures proves to be feasible, then other local governments statewide might find them useful for their conservation programs, also. Since they represent an actual situation in Georgia, it is useful to examine what the District’smeasures require.
26 Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District The 11 recommended measures:1. Establish conservation pricing by all District utilities2. Enact legislation to require plumbing retrofits on home sales3. Enact legislation to require low-flush urinals for new industrial, commercial and institutional buildingsLet's go over the 11 measures, briefly, to see what they consist of and how they might be implemented. First, all the District water utilities would be required to establish conservation pricing in their areas. This means something other than a flat rate or reduced rate for increased water use. Instead, there would be price increases as more water is used, generally in "blocks" of a certain range of water use. For example, conservation-minded users would pay the base rate, moderate users would pay more for water use above the base amount, and heavy water users would pay increasingly steep prices for abnormally high use. Conservation pricing can also be applied during seasonal high-use periods, such as summer. Surprisingly, few utilities in Georgia currently use conservation pricing to encourage their customers to use less water. The second measure would require plumbing retrofits on home sales. While there are existing regulations requiring low-flow toilets and other devices in all new homes and remodeling projects, this retrofit measure would apply to older homes whenever they are sold, so that eventually most homes would have water efficient fixtures. The third measure would require low-flush urinals for all new industrial, commercial and institutional buildings.
27 Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District 4. Enact legislation to require rain sensor shut-off switches on new irrigation systems5. Require sub-unit water meters in new multi-family buildings6. Assess and reduce water system leakage7. Conduct residential water audits8. Distribute low-flow retrofit kits to residential usersThe fourth measure would require rain cut-off sensors on new home and commercial irrigation systems, so that timed sprinklers will not continue to run when it is raining, as many do now. The fifth measure would require sub-unit water meters in new multi-family buildings. Currently, many such buildings only have one meter for all of the apartments or other type of housing unit. Residents may or may not be assessed a water fee, but there is no real incentive to conserve water under this system. With individual water meters, each resident pays for the amount of water they actually use, so water conservation becomes more important to them. The sixth measure would require water systems to assess and reduce leakage from their piping system. This can be a huge problem, and some water systems in the District are estimated to have up to 25% unaccounted-for-water, which can include leaks, as well as un-metered water users. The acceptable industry standard is 10% unaccounted for water. The seventh measure is a requirement for the local governments to provide residential water audits to determine how water is used and can be conserved in each home. Such audit programs have been found to be very popular and effective in other states. The eighth measure is to provide low-flow retrofit kits to residential users. These kits consist of a variety of indoor and outdoor water-saving devices, and are usually provided for free or at very low cost to homeowners.
28 Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District 9. Conduct commercial water audits10. Implement an education and public awareness plan11. Establish review and oversight of water conservation implementation and performanceThe ninth measure is a requirement to conduct water audits for commercial users, which can yield huge water and monetary savings for them. The tenth measure is to implement an education and public awareness campaign for water conservation in the District. Finally, the eleventh measure requires the District planners themselves to review and oversee the water conservation program's implementation and performance, so it can be adjusted as necessary over time. All of these measures have been widely discussed and analyzed for maximum benefit, so it will be interesting to see how effective they are when actually applied.
29 Basic components of a water conserving community What you should be doing:Economize through behavioral changes and leak repairInstall water saving devicesReuse waterPractice water conservation with outside wateringObserve water restrictionsWhat your local government can/should be doing:Educating users and then enforcing water restrictionsPromoting installation of water saving devices (rebates, free kits and home/business water audits)Implementing changes in its own System ManagementThere are some basic components of most water conservation programs, for both individuals and local governments. (Briefly note list on slide) Let's look first at individual activities.
30 DCA Water Conservation Brochure DCA has produced a very popular home water conservation brochure called “Every Drop Counts”, which has been distributed to over 200,000 persons in Georgia. To order large quantities of the brochure, call Joe Dunlop at DCA. The brochure is also posted on the DCA Web site.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 EconomizeTurn off the tap when brushing teeth, washing face, or shavingTake shorter showers or reduce the flowUse the minimum amount of bath waterWash full loads of dishes or clothes or use proper load settingRepair any leaks in faucets or toilets. Special dye tablets or food coloring in the toilet tank can be used to detect leaking flapper valve.One of the first rules is to economize our water use by reducing water consumption wherever and whenever possible. Reducing water use can mean changing our behavior with such simple measures as turning off the tap when we brush our teeth, wash our face or shave, taking shorter showers or reducing the shower flow, using a minimum amount of bath water, washing only full loads of dishes or clothes (with the proper load size setting). Repairing leaks from faucets and toilet valves is also critical, as even a small leak can result in a lot of water wasted over time. In fact, a leak of one drop per second wastes 2,700 gallons per year. To detect leaks in toilet tank systems, use the special dye tablets made for this purpose, or put a little food coloring in the tank. If color shows up in the toilet bowl without flushing the toilet, there is a leak past the flapper valve. Replacement valves are cheap and are available at any home supply store. You can also detect hidden water leaks by turning off all taps and water-using appliances, then checking your water meter before and after two hours. If the reading is not exactly the same, you have a hidden leak in your home or the water line going into your home.
32 Ways to EconomizeMinimize the use of kitchen sink disposals, try home composting instead!Store drinking water in the refrigerator to avoid running water for a cool drinkDo not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Thaw overnight in refrigeratorWhen washing dishes by hand fill one sink with soapy water and rinse with slow stream of water from faucet.In the kitchen, there are many ways to economize. Sink disposals use a lot of water and are also not recommended for houses with septic tank systems. Start a home compost pile to dispose of food scraps, instead. Store some drinking water in the refrigerator. Do not use running water to thaw frozen foods. It is safer to thaw them out in the refrigerator, anyway. You can also economize when washing dishes by hand, by using a sink filled with soapy water and minimizing the rinse time.
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 dishwashersIf 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 nationwideNext, we can install water saving devices, of which there are a wide variety, with more being made available all the time. When buying appliances, look for water efficient models with variable load settings for washing machines and selectable wash cycles for dish washers. Installing low flow toilets, even if not required by law, can result in significant savings.
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)There are also a variety of inexpensive water saving devices available, including faucet aerators, good low-flow shower heads, water displacement devices for toilet tanks such as bags and dams, and fill cycle diverters that re-direct wasted water back into the toilet tank instead of down the drain. This slide shows how much water these simple devices can save, in gallons per minute, and the approximate cost of each one.
35 Reuse WaterUnused 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 drainAir conditioner and dehumidifier condensate water can be collected or redirected to water outside plantsRainwater can be captured in rain barrels or tanksReusing water is another way to conserve. When we talk about "gray water" we mean water from washing machines, showers and sinks (but not toilets), which can be captured and used for outdoor water. There is growing interest in gray water use and a number of systems are available for home use. However, local plumbing and sewer use restrictions may apply, so some research is necessary to avoid problems. A very easy way to reuse wasted water is to redirect your air conditioner and/or humidifier condensate water drain with a hose so that it flows to landscape or garden plants. There are also systems designed to capture and reuse rainwater at home, including rainwater barrels and in-ground 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 drivewayWater lawns between 9pm and 9am to minimize loss to evaporationCheck operation of automated irrigation systems and avoid watering when rain is expectedUse drip irrigation or soaker hoses, not sprinklers, for garden and landscape plantsOutdoors, use a hose nozzle to turn off the water when watering your plants or washing your car, instead of letting the water run. Measure the rainfall and the amount of water you apply to lawns, gardens and landscaping so the right amount of water is evenly applied. In general, lawns and plants only need watering every 5 to 7 days in the summer or about 1” of irrigation and/or rainfall per week. Place your sprinklers or adjust automated sprinkler heads so water does not fall on paved surfaces. Water during evening and early morning hours, and make sure your automated irrigation systems don’t come on before, during or just after a rainfall. Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses instead of sprinklers for garden and landscape plants. Watering only as needed encourages plants to develop deep root systems so they can better tolerate drought conditions. Also, turn off your sprinklers if runoff starts to occur. Avoid fertilizing and pruning plants during drought, as this stimulates new growth and increases the need for water.
37 Outdoor WateringHome water meters for hoses and shower heads are now available atSmall home water meters are now available for hoses and also bathroom shower heads. The individual hose water meters are useful for assessing how many gallons of water are used for irrigation, car washing, and other activities. They can also be used to ensure that the same amount of irrigation water is applied across an entire yard or garden.
38 Outdoor WateringDo not hose down your sidewalk or driveway; use a broom or leaf blowerCheck hoses for splits and leaky connectionsAvoid water features unless water is recycledIf you have a pool, consider a new water-saving pool filter. A single backflushing with conventional filter uses 180 to 250 gallonsWash 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 streamsWhen cleaning sidewalks or driveways, use sweeping or blowing, not wet cleaning. Check hoses and connections for leaks. Avoid ornamental water features unless they recycle the water. If you have a pool, consider a new water-saving pool filter to avoid wasting hundreds of gallons of water each time you backflush. Washing your car on the grass or at a commercial car wash makes good sense, and avoids polluting nearby waterways with soap, oil and other pollutants.
39 Outdoor WateringAverage residential water use increases 30% to 50% during the summer months due to outdoor wateringXeriscaping is quality landscaping that conserves water and protects the environment, without sacrificing the beauty of your yardA Georgia Xeriscape Guide is available online at:As we have seen, outdoor watering is the largest component of average home water use, and it increases 30-50% in the summer months. In addition to some simple measures that we have already discussed, there is a well defined way to reduce your outdoor watering needs while still maintaining a quality landscape and protecting the environment. This is known as xeriscaping and it is not, as some people think, the use of cactus and rocks for landscaping! Rather it is a way to have a beautiful yard by avoiding certain types of plants and areas with high watering needs.
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 typesSoil analysis and improvementSelection of appropriate plants adapted to site and water needsPractical turf areas for recreation, aesthetics or erosion controlEfficient irrigation to prevent runoff and reduce evaporative lossUse of mulches to hold moisture and minimize maintenanceAppropriate maintenance to discourage new growth and avoid plant stressLet's look at the seven basic principles of xeriscaping as described in the Xeriscaping Guide. (Go over seven items on slide)
41 Other Ideas Look for water conservation initiatives in your area and help promote themSupport teaching of the EPA Water Sourcebook Series in schools, as promoted by the Georgia Water Wise Council, or other water education toolsPatronize businesses that practice and promote water conservationThese suggestions are only a small sampling of the many ways to conserve water. I will show you some websites where you can get many other tips later. Some other ideas for water conservation include being aware of water conservation initiatives in your area and helping to spread the word. Local conservation activities are often written up in newspapers and posted to local government Web sites. Also, support the teaching of water lessons in schools, through the Water Sourcebook Series or other water education tools. You can also support businesses that practice water conservation, which are identified by signs in some areas.
42 Getting The Word Out Community and special websites Public service announcements (PSAs) on radio and television stationsNewpaper notices and articlesPublic meetings and presentationsBrochures and other handoutsMailouts in water billsDoor HangersIn regard to public education on water conservation and related issues, there are a wide variety of methods available, including Web sites, public service announcements, newspapers, public meetings, brochures, mailouts and door hangers, to name a few. Reaching people and convincing them to conserve water can be difficult, but hopefully more people will begin to practice conservation as time goes on. We might compare water conservation to recycling of newspapers, cans, bottles and other items. Consumer recycling efforts go back at least to the 1960s. Recycling took some years to gain momentum, but is now an accepted habit for many people. We need water conservation to become a habit, too.
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 ManagementWater Accounting and Loss Control (<10% loss)Water-Use Regulation, i.e. restrictionsUse 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)Local governments can also realize huge water savings in their water system management. We have already discussed conservation or incentive-based pricing, universal metering, water accounting and loss control, and restrictions. Pressure management involves properly regulating the pressure in the water lines. Water systems have certain acceptable pressure limits that should be followed, because too much pressure can cause leaks and result in greater water loss when there is a leak. One significant trend in municipal water systems is the use of highly treated reclaimed wastewater for a variety of uses, including golf course and commercial landscaping irrigation and for certain industrial uses. Reclaimed water can even be used in for toilet flushing and residential irrigation, if the proper plumbing codes for separate water lines are observed. EPD supports the use of reclaimed water wherever possible, in order to save potable water supplies for more critical uses.
44 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 systemsAgricultural conservation is a separate topic, and one that is receiving a lot of attention now. EPD issues agricultural water withdrawal permits for surface and groundwater withdrawals over 100,000 gallons per day (there are about 21,000 permits now), but has not required farmers to actually measure the amount of water they use. Therefore, EPD has had to estimate how much water is being used for agricultural purposes, and there is no way to measure whether conservation measures are being effectively implemented. This is changing, however, since the General Assembly passed House Bill 579, which requires that agricultural users install water meters and report water usage. Farmers are also being encouraged to practice water conservation by the UGA Extension Service and other technical assistance programs, through the use of newer and more efficient irrigation systems, soil moisture sensors and other technologies. More efficient drip irrigation systems can also replace sprinklers in some cases.
45 State Actions Water Restrictions Stop!When water restrictions are in effect:EPD's intent is to curtail water use by residential and business water usersLocal water utilities may expand the restrictionsFor the current water restrictions in Georgia:check outor call EPD at (404) , (888) (outside Atlanta)A word here about water restrictions. When restrictions are in effect, it is EPD’s intent to curtail water use by residential and business users, statewide. However, local restrictions may be more stringent than the EPD restrictions, so people need to check these, too. Did you know that there are still statewide water restrictions, even though the drought has ended? In May 2003, EPD issued voluntary water restrictions that say odd-numbered addresses may water only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays (no hourly limits) and even-numbered or unnumbered addresses may water only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays (no hourly limits). People will be asked to voluntarily obey these new outdoor water use restrictions for approximately one year, at which time EPD intends to impose mandatory restrictions. You can always find the latest information on EPD water restrictions on the Drought in Georgia web site.
46 State ActionsWater Conservation Plans are required from local government and industrial water users that have groundwater or surface water withdrawal permits or permit modifications, except agricultureEPD 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 plansThe State has also taken a number of other actions to encourage water conservation. Since the mid-1990s, local governments and industries with water withdrawal permits have been required to develop and implement Water Conservation Plans. EPD has recently become stricter in their tracking and enforcement of such plans. EPD also requires effective water conservation programs for all regional reservoir projects. Lastly, the Georgia DNR has created the position of Water Conservation Coordinator, with a new Water Conservation Program web site.
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 ProgramPlans and coordinates water conservation efforts statewide:There are many useful web sites related to water conservation. Here are a few state agencies or programs that you might find useful.
48 More Useful Web Sites Drought in Georgia web site Georgia Water Wise CouncilProvides information on xeriscaping, water efficiency, Water Sourcebook, and more:Water Conservation DevicesNiagara Conservation:NRG Savers:100 Water Saving TipsWater Use It Wisely:Other useful web sites include the Drought in Georgia site, Georgia Water Wise Council, several vendors of water conservation devices, and a great web site with over 100 water saving tips.
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 StatesCalifornia Urban Water Conservation Council:Crescenta Valley Water District toilet rebate program:City of Albuquerque:There are also some good web sites for communities in Georgia and the US that have been heavily involved with water conservation activities for some time. These are an excellent source of ideas and examples of water-saving efforts.
50 Tools for Protecting Georgia’s Water Resources Water Resources Toolkit for Local Governments CDNow available online!Current regulatory, educational and decision support information on numerous water topics, including water conservation and drought management.DCA and it’s partners have developed a number of useful tools for assisting local governments and individuals with water conservation efforts. The Water Resources Toolkit for Local Governments was originally produced on compact disc and distributed state-wide, and addresses many different water management issues. It has videos, PowerPoint presentations, brochures, web site links, summary sheets, guidance documents and much more. It also has separate sections on water conservation and public education. The Toolkit is now available online at and it is updated frequently with new materials.Contains hundreds of items, including summary sheets, reference lists, guidance documents, brochures, PowerPoint presentations, videos, Web sites, maps, and much more…
51 A convenient User’s Menu will open when you insert the CD The Toolkit has various water management topic sections accessed by selecting appropriate tabs on the left side of the screen. (Note various titles on tabs)
52 Each topic tab on the left contains numerous resources The Water Conservation section has items on conservation, reuse, drought management, xeriscaping, and more. It also has the electronic version of the DCA “Every Drop Counts” brochure, which is very popular and has been distributed to over 200,000 people in Georgia. The Public Education section of the Toolkit also has many useful items in it.
53 This Excel spreadsheet calculates estimated savings from various water conservation devices and programsOne very useful tool in the Water Conservation section is the Water Conservation Estimating Calculator. This Excel spreadsheet allows local governments or water utilities to estimate potential savings, in both water and money, of various water saving devices or programs. In the Calculator, users can put in the total population and the percentage of households installing devices such as toilet tank banks, fill cycle diverters, tank dams, and low-flow flapper valves; faucet aerators, low-flow showerheads, and leak repairs. The spreadsheet will then automatically provide estimated savings. The spreadsheet also provides rough estimates of water savings for xeriscaping and water conservation education programs. Users can also perform their own analysis of the cost of treating equivalent amounts of drinking water or wastewater and the cost of expanding water treatment or wastewater treatment plants, and put these numbers into the spreadsheet.
54 ArcExplorer Watersheds of Georgia CDs Tools for Protecting Georgia’s Water ResourcesArcExplorer Watersheds of Georgia CDsThis 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...DCA has also produced the ArcExplorer Watersheds of Georgia CDs. This two-CD set contains a user-friendly Geographic Information System (GIS) viewing program, a user’s guide and mapping data for each of Georgia’s 52 Large Watersheds. The CDs can be used to view the watershed boundaries and many different water resource layers, including city and county boundaries, streams, rivers, lakes and estuaries, impaired waters, community facilities, schools, and much more. The mapping information is very useful for understanding water availability, water quality problems in a particular area, and many other watershed issues.
55 AcknowledgementsThis 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.Acknowledgement Slide (the end)