(ATLANTA, June 1, 2016) — Community leaders and water experts gathered today to help the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (Metro Water District) celebrate 15 years of successful stewardship of our water resources.
“Water is the lifeblood of metro Atlanta. We are proud that the Metro Water District and the region’s local governments, utilities and authorities have worked together over the last 15 years to ensure that we use our regional water resources efficiently,” said Boyd Austin, Chair of the Metro Water District. “Through cooperation, scientific rigor and hard work, we have created a culture of conservation and successfully reduced the amount of water used in our region.”
A resolution recognizing the Metro Water District’s accomplishments, including helping to make metropolitan Atlanta one of the most water efficient regions in the nation, was delivered by state Rep. Lynn Smith, Chair, Georgia State House Natural Resources and Environment Committee, and state Sen. Frank Ginn, Chair, Georgia State Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee.
U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who is retiring from Congress after years of dedicated service, delivered the keynote address.
Over the past 15 years, the 15 counties, 92 cities, and 55 water systems in the Metro Water District have adopted and updated plans for water supply and water conservation, watershed protection and wastewater management. Significant achievements include:
- A 10 percent reduction in total water use since 2000, even as the population has grown by more than 1 million.
- A decrease in per capita water use of more than 30 percent since 2000.
- A 50 percent reduction in the number of sewer spills since 2001.
- A toilet rebate program that has helped replace over 110,000 old and inefficient toilets in metro Atlanta.
The anniversary celebration also recognized impactful and innovative water resource management projects and programs through the STREAM awards. These awards honor projects completed by the Metro Water District’s member local governments, utilities and authorities that are sustainable, thoughtful, regional, engaging, applicable and measured.
The award winners include the following programs and projects of excellence:
- Water Supply and Water Conservation: Cobb County Water System for their Green Cities Program, a budget-neutral, direct install loan program enables multi-family and lodging facilities to completely retrofit their properties with high-efficiency fixtures. Currently, more than 800 full sets of fixtures have been replaced with high-efficiency fixtures, saving Cobb Water more than 600,000 gallons per month.
- Wastewater/Septic: Clayton County Water Authority for constructed wetlands. Clayton County uses constructed wetlands for indirect potable reuse, treating more than 20 million gallons per day. Together, the wetlands and existing reuse program have reduced dependence on water supplied by the Flint and Ocmulgee watersheds.
- Watershed/Stormwater (tied): The City of Alpharetta for Rock Mill Park, an environmental education and outreach center. The park incorporates green infrastructure and highlights the natural beauty of Big Creek. The park includes engineered wetlands, enhanced swales, bioretention, a greenroof facility and native planting materials. The city also preserved many large stands of trees and wildlife habitat.
- Watershed/Stormwater (tied): The City of Atlanta for Post Development Stormwater Management Ordinance, which requires green infrastructure. Atlanta passed one of the most far-reaching post-development stormwater management ordinances in the country. The city has embraced the use of green infrastructure to relieve sewers, restore ecosystems, stimulate the economy, and improve water quality.
- Education/Outreach: Henry County Water Authority for Cubihatcha Kids, an outdoor education program for all third grade students in Henry County Schools. Cubihatcha Kids was developed to provide opportunities for hands-on learning. Each fall, every third grader in Henry County elementary schools participates in these field trips. To date, more than 36,000 children and participating adults have been reached.
- Coordination: Bartow County, Cherokee County, Cobb County, Dawson County, Forsyth County, Lumpkin County, Pickens County, Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority, Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority and the Etowah Water and Sewer Authority for the Lake Allatoona/Upper Etowah River Comprehensive Watershed Study. The project developed a technically sound and comprehensive analysis of the entire Lake Allatoona /Upper Etowah River watershed. This enabled improved decision making and resource protection through plans for comprehensive monitoring, watershed assessment, and watershed protection.
About the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (Metro Water District)
The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District is dedicated to developing comprehensive regional and watershed-specific water resources plans to be implemented by local governments in the 15-county metro Atlanta region, which includes Bartow, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale counties. These plans conserve public water supplies, protect water quality and recreational value of the waters and minimize potential adverse impacts of development on waters in and downstream of the region.
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