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Conserve Water Georgia

CONSERVE WATER GEORGIA

Water Stewardship Act

Final Report on State Agency Activities

On June 1, 2010, Governor Sonny Perdue today signed the Water Stewardship Act of 2010. The Governor was joined by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, House Speaker David Ralston, bill sponsors Sen. Ross Tolleson and Rep. Lynn Smith; and Water Task Force members including co-chairs John Brock and Tim Lowe at Buford Dam Park.

"The Water Stewardship Act is the next step forward as we continue building a statewide culture of conservation," said Governor Perdue. "This legislation helps secure our water supplies by preparing for future growth, protecting our water-sensitive industries and equipping us to navigate future droughts that are sure to come."

The Water Stewardship Act includes incentives for increasing water stewardship and new conservation requirements. Beginning in July 2012, the legislation requires efficient water fixtures in all new residential and commercial construction statewide as well as the installation of efficient cooling towers in new industrial construction. Also, for all new residential and commercial multi-unit projects, the bill will require sub-metering so that each unit will receive consumption reports and have incentive to practice conservation measures.

"Today marks a big step forward as we continue implementing policies that provide for smart growth initiatives, which guide Georgia's long-term water supply needs," said Speaker Ralston. "We could not have crafted this bill without the hard work and collaboration of the General Assembly under the leadership of Representative Lynn Smith in the House, the private sector and Governor Perdue."

"Today marks a significant milestone for our state as we become better stewards of our water and move forward with conservation measures that will safeguard our natural resources," said Lt. Governor Cagle. "I'm very proud of Senator Ross Tolleson for his hard work and leadership in the Senate. This bill would not have been possible without the collaboration between the House, Senate and Governor Perdue as together we worked to position out state for future water needs."

The legislation also instructs eight different state agencies to look at local government and water provider grant and loan programs to develop incentive criteria that would encourage retrofit programs on existing construction. For example, a community could receive an interest rate discount for a Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) loan or be able to apply for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) annually
instead of every two years. These incentive programs could range from retrofitting water fixtures to installing drought resistant landscapes to using grey water and implementing conservation pricing.

"This legislation furthers our ability to conserve water," said Sen.
Tolleson. "It will help guide future growth in our state."

"This legislation gives us the tools we need to conserve as we grow," said Representative Smith. "The Water Stewardship Act allows us to ably manage our most precious natural resource."

"The Stewardship Act will help secure Georgia's future," said
Representative Matt Ramsey, one of the Governor's Floor Leaders who helped guide the legislation through the General Assembly. "Through the collaboration of the Governor, General Assembly and the business, agriculture and environmental communities, Georgia is safeguarding our water supply."

The legislation is based on recommendations from the Governor's Water Contingency Task Force, a group of business, civic, government and environmental leaders that met last fall.

"The Governor and the General Assembly embraced the water-saving ideas outlined by the Water Contingency Task Force and created the Water Stewardship Act, which we are here today to celebrate," said John Brock, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises and co-chair of the Water Contingency Task Force. "The act is a great demonstration of stakeholder involvement and consensus-building from the government, water providers
and the agriculture, business and conservation community. Key
stakeholders worked together to craft the final piece of legislation and support its passage."

"Without question, ensuring that Georgia businesses and families will have access to clean, plentiful water is critical to our state's future. The passage of this legislation was a clear demonstration that our elected leaders understand the importance of water to our economic health and quality of life," added Tim Lowe of Lowe Engineers and co-chair of the Water Task Force. "Now that the bill has been signed into law, the responsibility will lie upon all Georgians to meet the established levels of stewardship and support the state in this important effort."

The bill also tasks the Georgia Environmental Protection Division with setting standards for water loss and leak detection for all medium and large public water systems. These systems serve 91 percent of Georgia's water customers. Because data on water loss is currently not comparable from system to system, setting the standards will allow the state to assist water providers by identifying where the biggest losses are occurring.

The legislation also creates the Joint Committee on Water Supply to study new opportunities for enhancing water supply.