North Georgia Water Utilities Continue Conservation Winning Streaks, Recognized with EPA 2022 WaterSense® Sustained Excellence Awards

Metro Atlanta, GA — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has once again recognized three north Georgia water agencies with a 2022 WaterSense Sustained Excellence Award for helping people save water. The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department, and Cobb County Water System were honored on Thursday, Oct. 6 during the WaterSmart Innovations (WSI) Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas.

Organizations from across the U.S. were recognized for their commitment to promoting WaterSense and water efficiency in 2021. Notably, this is Athens-Clarke County’s sixth year to receive the Sustained Excellence Award and the fifth years for the Metropolitan North Georgia Water District and Cobb County Water to be recognized.  Award recipients include utilities, manufacturers, builders, retailers, and other organizations that partner with WaterSense to promote water-efficient products, homes, and programs.

“Throughout 2021, our award-winning partners helped people protect this precious resource by promoting WaterSense labeled products and water-efficient behaviors,” said Veronica Blette, Chief, EPA WaterSense Branch. “Saving water is particularly critical in areas impacted by drought but is also a path to helping consumers stretch dollars by reducing their water and energy bills.”

Georgia is a leader in efficient water resources management requiring providers to develop and maintain water loss programs to target areas of further efficiency, with a special focus on leak detection and repairs. Each of the three north Georgia water agencies continued to advance programs promoting water conservation in their communities earning the WaterSense honor.

The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District received its fifth Sustained Excellence Award for:

  • Promoting EPA’s Fix a Leak Week through a High School Public Service Announcement Video Contest where students demonstrated how families can check for leaks, save water, and reduce their water bills;
  • Partnering with Georgia Public Broadcasting to host Live Exploration: Georgia’s Water during national Drinking Water Week. The one-hour live televised and online event reached nearly 80,000 elementary school students, teachers, and parents in schools and homes across the state. Participants learned about Georgia’s river systems, the water cycle, the water treatment process, and how to protect and conserve water;
  • Sponsoring the Chattahoochee Nature Center’s Spring Native Plant Sale where participants received water-saving giveaways such as faucet aerators, toilet flappers, hose spray nozzles, and a WaterWise Landscape Guide; and
  • Proposing new efficiency requirements for new construction indoor plumbing fixtures and outdoor landscape irrigation systems to take effect in 2024.

The Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department Water Conservation Office (WCO) won its sixth Sustained Excellence Award for:

  • Promoting water conservation among college students at the University of Georgia (UGA) by engaging with landlords and property managers to distribute 5,000 “water welcome” kits for renters;
  • Hosting a WaterSmart customer portal as an online management tool for water customers to increase their water efficiency and improve their Water Score—leading to over 1,000 new enrollments in 2021;
  • Combining the WaterSense “Your Better Yard” campaign with its H2GrOw Native Plant Collection promotion to help local gardeners create water-smart landscapes; and
  • Educating customers on outdoor water efficiency by distributing a Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) article on Smart Irrigation Controllers and supporting a UGA monthly Green Thumb webinar series.

The Cobb County Water System (CCWS) continued its conservation streak earning a fifth Sustained Excellence Award for:

  • Promoting Fix a Leak Week by creating an instructional video with a 10-minute challenge on how to find and fix silent leaks. CCWS shared the video with over 100 community members during the Wonder of Water Weekend at a local park, gave away WaterSense labeled showerheads and demonstrated how to replace them;
  • Launching a new program and training 37 Cobb County resident volunteers on water conservation to help educate consumers during community events;
  • Tracking multifamily buildings with high water use and promoting the commercial toilet rebate program to properties built prior to 1993 – offering a $50 credit on the building’s water bill for replacing up to 100 older toilets with WaterSense labeled models;
  • Continuing its program to offer residents a free indoor water savings kit, complete with faucet aerators and a showerhead; and
  • Sponsoring a coloring book contest, inviting fourth and fifth graders to draw its mascot Tappy Turtle saving and protecting water.

Georgia is one of three states to mandate high efficiency plumbing fixtures in all new developments – exceeding federal standards. The Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) releases a Water Efficiency and Conservation State Scorecard every 5 years. In 2017, Georgia received a B+ for Efficiency and Conservation. Though the 2022 report has not yet been released, Georgia is expected to maintain or increase its AWE grade.

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WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by EPA, seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering consumers and businesses simple ways to use less water with water-efficient products, homes, and services. Since 2006, the program and water-efficient plumbing and irrigation products have helped consumers and businesses save 6.4 trillion gallons of water — enough water to supply all households in the U.S. with water for eight months. It has also contributed to the reduction in the amount of energy needed to pump, treat, and heat water and helped prevent 288 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.