Water Sense
                           Water Fact Sheet
      Irom the expanding Metro Atlanta suburbs to the
      world-class golf courses on the Atlantic Coast,
      Georgia's economy depends on a consistent
supply of fresh water. Though Georgia has a humid
climate and a statewide rainfall average of 51  inches
per year, periodic water shortages have become a fact
of life for the state's residents. Such shortages are trig-
gered not only by occasional droughts, but also by uncertain aquifer sup-
plies and a dwindling number of new surface water sources available to
satisfy the state's growing population.
       Population Pressure

       While Georgia's population grew modestly dur-
       ing most of the 20th century, it has recently
       boomed. Georgia was the sixth fastest growing
       state in the nation in 2000, and by 2006 it had
       risen to fourth, growing by 1.5 million people in
       just six years. If current trends continue, Georgia
       will reach 14.4 million residents by 2030.

       About half of the state's residents live in rapidly
       growing Metro Atlanta. The city has a small sur-
       face water supply relative to its size. As a result
       of this water supply and demand imbalance,
       Metro Atlanta is disproportionately affected by
       water shortages—a condition likely to worsen as
       Atlanta continues to grow.
                                       Water Supply
                                       Like other Southeastern states, Georgia relies
                                       heavily on groundwater to meet its population's
                                       needs. The state's southern half lies above the
                                       100,000-square-mile Floridian aquifer—one of
                                       the world's most productive groundwater
                                       resources and a principal water supply for
                                       Georgia and other Southeastern states.

                                       Even though Georgia's high average rainfall is
                                       usually enough to recharge its aquifers, the
                                       combination of recent droughts and increased
                                       demand have strained the state's groundwater
                                       resources. For example, unsustainable pumping
                                       rates have significantly lowered water pressure
                                       in the aquifer underneath Savannah and raised
May 2010
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concerns about saltwater intrusion into fresh
drinking water. Surface water supply is largely
limited by rainfall levels and Georgians'ability
to efficiently capture and manage this impor-
tant resource.

Solutions  for the Future
Georgia has implemented a number of success-
ful water-efficiency efforts to reduce demand
on water sources, from the top levels of govern-
ment to its neighborhoods.

The Georgia legislature recently passed
Governor Sonny Perdue's plan to encourage the
conservation of the state's water supply, includ-
ing a mandate that state codes will require indi-
vidual water metering in multi-unit buildings, as
well as high-efficiency toilets and other plumb-
ing fixtures in all new construction beginning in
July 2012.

The state has also hosted a sales tax holiday for
the past two years on WaterSense labeled prod-
ucts. For several days in October, Georgia resi-
dents pay no state sales tax when they purchase
one of these water-saving devices.

Cobb County, which includes Marietta, was
named a WaterSense Partner of the Year for
2009. Cobb County's toilet rebate program
helped pay for more than 1,650 WaterSense
labeled  toilets  and brought together Lowe's, The
Home Depot, and local partners to make the
most of the statewide sales  tax holiday.

On the other side of the state in Chatham
County, residents saved more than one million
gallons of water in one year after replacing 600
water-wasting  toilets with more efficient models.

At the local level, Atlanta's Brown Village saw
water consumption drop by more than 6.1  mil-
lion gallons per year after distributing efficient
toilets, low-flow showerheads, and water-saving
tips to 340 residents.

If every household in Georgia replaced its show-
erheads with WaterSense labeled models, they
would save nearly 9 billion gallons of water,
more than $50 million in water bills, and anoth-
er $120 million in energy costs for heating the
water each year.

Continued efforts such as these will help
Georgia get the most of its water supply and
ensure sufficient water supply for generations
to come. To learn more about EPA's WaterSense
program, visit www.epa.gov/watersense.
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  In 2007, Georgia marked the 50-year anni<
  sary of the construction of Lake Lanier, a r
  voir on the Chattahoochee River situated
  northeast of Atlanta. Originally constructed for
  power production, flood control, and down-
  stream navigation, the lake has become the
  sole source of water for most of Metro Atlanta,
  which presents a significant problem for the
  future security of Atlanta's water supply.
  In late 2007, the lake dropped to its lowest point
  since construction, and persistent drought con-
  ditions in 2008 slowed its recovery. Due to
  extreme weather patterns Georgia experienced
  in 2009, Lake Lanier made a full recovery; how-
  ever, given that a hot day can evaporate about
  200 million gallons from the lake, and with the
  continued demand of Metro Atlanta's growing
  population, major water-efficiency measures are
  needed to avoid future droughts in the are