Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to our most frequently asked questions. If you don’t see the answer you are looking for here, contact us.
Water planning is the process of using data, information and stakeholder input to develop current and future strategies designed to protect water resources and use them wisely. In metro Atlanta, the Metro Water District takes an integrated and holistic approach to water resource management by establishing strategies for stormwater, wastewater and water supply and conservation. To achieve the greatest impact, the measures included in Metro Water District plans are designed for flexibility, allowing the local governments and utilities responsible for implementation to tailor them to their unique capabilities. Water planning is critical to making water conservation and protection a priority in north Georgia and has resulted in a 10 percent reduction in water use at the same time the population increased by one million residents.
Water is a precious resource and critical to our safety and vitality. In the Metro Water District, 98 percent of water comes from rivers, streams and reservoirs. Water planning is critical to protect the quantity and quality of this water supply. The Metro Water District plays a critical role in coordinating the water planning work of the region’s 15 counties and 95 cities. It is the only major metropolitan area in the country with more than 100 jurisdictions implementing a long-term comprehensive and integrated water conservation program that is required and enforced.
The Metro Water District includes 15 counties and 95 cities within the metro Atlanta region. It is the only major metropolitan area in the country with more than 100 jurisdictions implementing a long-term comprehensive water conservation program that is required of local jurisdictions and enforced by Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
The Metro Water District was created by the Georgia General Assembly in 2001 to establish policy, create plans and promote intergovernmental coordination of water issues in the region. It coordinates with the 10 other regional water planning councils established by the General Assembly in 2008. Because it was created first and by separate legislation than the other water councils, the Metro Water District’s jurisdictions are subject to different requirements and responsibilities than jurisdictions in the other water planning councils.
The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District was created by the Georgia General Assembly in 2001 to establish policy, create plans and promote intergovernmental coordination of regional water issues. It is the only major metropolitan area in the country where more than 100 jurisdictions are implementing such a comprehensive long-term water conservation program that is required and enforced. The Metro Water District is staffed by the Atlanta Regional Commission.
Funding comes from state appropriations and per capita local government dues. Monies are used to develop plans to protect water quality and public water supplies in and downstream of the region.
The Metro Water District, Georgia Environmental Protection Division, local governments, water utilities and numerous stakeholders all play important roles in developing and implementing the District’s water resources strategies. Local governments and utilities are responsible for implementing the plans, and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division enforces the plans through their audit process.
The 26-member Metro Water District Governing Board sets policy and direction. It includes 16 elected officials as well as 10 citizen members. An Executive Committee and Finance Committee serve in an advisory capacity to the Governing Board. A Technical Coordinating Committee provides support with subcommittees focused on stormwater, wastewater, water supply and conversation and education. The six Basin Advisory Councils represent each of the major river basins within the planning region. These councils provide input on plan content and advise on the development and implementation of policy related to basin-specific issues.
To get involved in the Metro Water District planning process, consider joining a Basin Advisory Council (BAC). There is a specific BAC to represent each of the six basins represented in the Metro Water District. The BACs advise on policy related and basin-specific issues. They are comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders including water professionals, business leaders, environmental advocates and other interested individuals and groups. If you’re interested in joining the BAC process, please email BAC@northgeorgiawater.com.
The Metro Water District’s Water Supply and Water Conservation Management Plan, details strategies and recommendations for effective water supply management and conservation. It includes the specific tasks and milestones for implementing these recommendations for both local governments as well as state and regional agencies.
Among the 19 conservation measures outlined in the plan are strategies for conservation pricing whereby water users pay higher rates as their water use increases, residential and commercial water audits, replacement of inefficient toilets, and education programs.
Additionally, the Metro Water District promotes improvements in water quality and reduced water use through public outreach programs, including the Clean Water Campaign and My Drop Counts. Through these efforts, thousands of residents, businesses and governments have:
- Committed to conserve through the “I’m In” pledge;
- Participated in the middle school essay contest, high school video contest or calendar contest;
- Replaced a low-flow toilet with a high efficiency model through the toilet rebate program;
- Learned ways to conserve water and prevent pollution in their home, business and community.
Since implementation of the plan, we have reduced water use by 10 percent despite a population increase of one million residents. Annual progress is included in our yearly Activities and Progress Report.
The simplest way to get involved is to make water conservation a priority. You can join other individuals, businesses and government agencies in pledging your commitment to water conservation on the My Drop Counts website.
Customers in the Metropolitan North Georgia area may be eligible for a rebate by replacing their older, less efficient toilets with an approved low-flow toilet. Through this effort, more than 100,000 toilets have been replaced with low-flow models, saving more than 300,000 gallons of water per day.
There is a limit of two toilet rebates per household. To qualify for a rebate, your home must have been built in 1993 or before and you must purchase a toilet on the approved toilet list. Only approved WaterSense labeled toilets using 1.28 gallons per flush or less will qualify for a rebate. Learn more about the program and download forms on the Toilet Rebate page.
The Metro Water District details aggressive strategies and recommendations for effective watershed and wastewater management. The plans include specific tasks and milestones for implementation by local governments in order to protect the water bodies in and downstream of our region.
Within the Watershed Management Plan are five model ordinances required of all local communities as well as regional and state policy recommendations. Additional measures to be implemented by cities and countries within the Metro Water District cover watershed planning and conditions assessment, land development, stormwater asset management, pollution prevention and public awareness. Demonstrating a commitment to the Metro Water District’s goals, all local governments within the 15-counties have passed a version of their required ordinances. Further, during 2014, more than 50% of local governments within the Metro Water District were engaged in activities directly related to improving watershed health such as carrying out projects, applying for grants, or prioritizing watersheds to receive projects.
In addition to actions implemented by local governments and utilities, the Metro Water District coordinates the Clean Water Campaign, an education and outreach initiative on stormwater pollution and prevention. Visit the Clean Water Campaign website for information on:
- Common residential pollutants and what you can do about it
- Common business pollutants and what you can do about it
- Educator lessons and activities
- Middle School Essay Contest
- High School Video Contest
- Links and additional stormwater resources
Also protecting water in our region are the strategies and requirements outlined in the Wastewater Management Plan. The plan contains a framework to meet future wastewater treatment demands while maintaining water quality standards within the Metro Water District.
North Georgia relies on surface water sources for 99 percent of its water supply. The Metro Water District does not import water from outside its boundaries. It relies on waters flowing through its five major river basins: Chattahoochee, Etowah (sub-basin of the Coosa), Flint, Ocmulgee and Oconee. Because the area has variable rainfall, no natural lakes and relatively small water supply where these rivers begin, we must rely on man-made reservoirs to store water during rainy periods to use during dry times and drought. We work to conserve these precious resources to meet the needs of metro Atlanta and downstream.
Yes, there is plenty of water supply within our region. While groundwater is not readily available and river flows in our area are small, North Georgia has adequate rainfall to support our current and future needs. Variable precipitation is managed through the use of reservoirs, which provide storage during rainy periods and relief during times of drought.
There is plenty of supply within our region to meet our current and future needs. Sources identified to meet demand through 2035 rely on the five river basins in the Metro Water District: Chattahoochee, Etowah (sub-basin of the Coosa), Flint, Ocmulgee and Oconee.
Through its planning process, the Metro Water District determines the most cost effective supply sources with the lowest environmental impact. Supply source evaluation criteria include:
- Maximizing the use of existing sources and facilities
- Minimizing interbasin transfers and maximizing basin self-sufficiency
- Maximizing reuse opportunities
- Continuing to protect water quality
- Using advanced treatment technologies
Additionally, the Metro Water District works with local, regional and state governments, as well as water utilities and a host of stakeholders to promote some of the most aggressive water conservation efforts in the country.
For more information and details on the tri-state water wars, please visit the Atlanta Regional Commission’s website.