Updated Report: Filling the Water Gap
On Oct. 4, 2012, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (CRK) released a 2012 update to our report, Filling the Water Gap: Conservation Successes and Missed Opportunities in Metro Atlanta. The new report provides an update on water conservation efforts in the metro region as implemented by nine local governments and select businesses. Once again, CRK’s report concludes that local governments and businesses are leading metro Atlanta’s water conservation efforts, while regional and state leaders fall short in providing the financial, institutional, and political support necessary to maximize savings through additional conservation.
In a press conference releasing the report, CRK presented “Best in Business Class” awards to three entities for significant efforts and firm commitments to reducing water use within the business sector:
• City of Atlanta – for leading the nation’s “Better Buildings Challenge” effort to save water and energy in commercial buildings;
• TOTO USA – for partnering with local governments and businesses to upgrade outdated plumbing fixtures; and
• Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport — for achieving significant water and energy savings through plumbing retrofits and other best management practices.
Click here to download a PDF of the 2012 report.
The nine utilities evaluated are City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, Cobb County Water System, DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management, Douglasville-Douglas County Water & Sewer Authority, Forsyth County Water & Sewer, Fulton County Department of Public Works, City of Gainesville, Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources, and City of Roswell. Other businesses featured in the report include Google, Alcon, and Stonehurst Place.
As the report shows, although cities and counties continue to achieve significant water savings through modest conservation efforts, CRK’s report identifies additional areas that could yield more savings. According to the report, these added measures could reduce metro Atlanta’s water demand by 147 million gallons of water per day (MGD):
• Reducing water loss due to system leaks to 10 percent or less (16 MGD);
• Retrofitting old homes with new plumbing fixtures through direct installation (34 MGD);
• Limiting sales of clothes washers and dishwashers to Energy Star models (24 MGD);
• Pricing water more effectively for homes and businesses (46 MGD); and
• Large-scale rainwater harvesting for homes and businesses (27 MGD).
A more substantial commitment to reuse over the next decade could add as much as 252 MGD, bringing the total potential water savings up to nearly 400 MGD, or enough water to serve 2.6 million people in the metro Atlanta area.
The Chattahoochee River is the most heavily-used water resource in Georgia called upon to satisfy growing and competing demands. The Chattahoochee is also at the heart of the heavily contested tri-state conflict over management of the entire Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) river basin. Resolving the conflict over ACF management will depend in part on the region’s ability to demonstrate a serious commitment to good water stewardship through aggressive water conservation efforts. Many local governments and businesses in metro Atlanta have taken the lead by implementing effective conservation measures as outlined in the CRK report. State leaders must take further action to support and build upon these successes.
Funding for Filling the Water Gap was provided by the C.S. Mott Foundation, JST Foundation, and Turner Foundation.
Last year’s 2011 report is available here.