Facts about Water Use in Georgia and Metro Atlanta

Jul 18, 2013, 09:00 ET from Atlanta Regional Commission

ATLANTA, July 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- An infographic distributed by Burns & McDonnell presented a distorted picture of water use in the State of Georgia and metro Atlanta. In addition to skewing the data, there are several errors in the piece itself. Here is accurate information:

  • According to the state's adopted Regional Water Plans, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division estimates that water usage across the state will increase approximately 8 percent for the period from 2010 through 2020. The Burns & McDonnell infographic inaccurately stated that water use would increase by 100 percent in the next seven years. (Source: Georgia EPD Regional Water Plans, 2011)
  • According to the US Geological Survey, total water withdrawals in Georgia were about 5.5 billion gallons per day in 2005. That demand exceeds the Burns & McDonnell infographic's 2020 projection. The company's infographic cites that level of water demand as a challenge, yet the state has already met that level without any notable problem. (Source: USGS, March 2011, Water Use in Georgia by County for 2005; and Water-Use Trends, 1980–2005)
  • The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District forecasts that water use between now and 2020 will increase by 10 to 20 percent, depending on conservation and other factors. The Burns & McDonnell infographic inaccurately implies that it would increase by 900 percent. (Source: Water Supply and Water Conservation Management Plan, May 2009, Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, p 3-12)

Facts about water demand management in Georgia and Metro Atlanta's water use:

  • Metro Atlanta has one of the most aggressive water conservation programs in the country. Per capita water consumption in the 15-county metro area dropped some 20 percent between 2000 and 2010. Much of this improvement is due to water efficiency, water conservation and water stewardship efforts put into place by more than 100 local governments and water utilities across the Atlanta region.  (Source:  2012 Annual Report, Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District)
  • Total water use in metro Atlanta decreased by about 15 percent between 2006 and 2009, even though population increased 6 percent. The Atlanta metro area used 512 million gallons per day in 2009, down from 602 million gallons per day in 2006. (Source: Water Metrics Report, February 2011, Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, p 19)
  • The State of Georgia is also dedicated to the wise use of our water resources. In 2010, the Georgia Legislature passed the Water Stewardship Act "to create a culture of water conservation in the state of Georgia." The act requires local governments to adopt or amend specific water conservation practices. The State of Georgia has reviewed water use and found that both per capita water use and total system water use have decreased between 2000 and 2011, while population has either remained flat or increased. (Source:  Reported Surface and Groundwater Withdrawals, Georgia Environmental Protection Division; U.S. Census 2000 and 2010)

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the official planning agency for the 10-county Atlanta region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties as well as the City of Atlanta and 69 other cities.  ARC also staffs the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District. ARC serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention and planning resources on key regional issues.

For more information:

Grace Trimble
Atlanta Regional Commission

SOURCE Atlanta Regional Commission