Environmental Protection

Commentary

American Rivers Commends Water Efficiency Approach

American Rivers, a river conservation organization, recently commended the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority for promoting water efficiency as the first source of supply in its recently released study, “Georgia Inventory and Survey of Feasible Sites for Water Supply Reservoirs.” The study notes that, “consideration should first be given to conservation and efficiency,” and goes further to say “of all options, reservoirs are the most costly, environmentally sensitive, and time-consuming.”

Jenny Hoffner, water efficiency program director for American Rivers, said: “Overwhelming evidence suggests that the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority is right. Water efficiency is cost-effective, proven, and timely. We urge state decision makers to heed their wisdom and implement policies accordingly. Unfortunately, this is still a study about expanding reservoirs and raising dams -- what we should be studying is water efficiency. American Rivers has done just that and last month released the report, “Hidden Reservoir: why water efficiency is the best solution for the Southeast,” urging local governments and utilities to implement water efficient policies.

“Our message to Georgia’s leaders is that water efficiency should be the first source of supply. It simply makes no sense to build a dam or other expensive and damaging water supply project, when water efficiency is the most cost-effective water supply solution, far cheaper than getting supply through new dams.

”If Metro Atlanta implemented water efficiency rather than dam construction, it could save up to $700 million. Water efficiency measures could yield up to 210 million gallons a day a third of the region’s current water consumption. That’s the equivalent of an entire new Lake Lanier. In this time of economic uncertainty and tightening budgets, water efficiency is the answer for local leaders who want cheap, effective, and reliable water supply solutions. The greatest promise for Georgia’s water supply is a policy that pursues water efficiency first and takes the necessary steps to uncover the hidden reservoirs that efficiency can provide.”

To view the GEFA report, visit http://www.gefa.org/Index.aspx?page=465. To see the American Rivers report, go to http://www.americanrivers.org/site/DocServer/SE_Water_Efficiency_Oct_2008_opt.pdf?docID=8421.

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