The Regional Business Coalition of Metropolitan Atlanta (RBC) and the Southeast Rainwater Harvesting Systems Association (SERHSA) have kicked off a region-wide initiative to encourage homeowners and businesses in Metro Atlanta to install rainwater-harvesting systems as an effective water conservation measure.

Studies by the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District indicate that over the next 20 years water demand in the metro Atlanta region could exceed one billion gallons of water per day. Metro Atlanta relies primarily on surface water from reservoirs and rivers for its water supply needs, simply because ground water is very limited in the area. Conservation measures are critical to insure adequate water resources for the future growth of the metropolitan Atlanta region. Rainwater harvesting could provide a significant option to add to future resources.

Rainwater harvesting installation is already taking place in the metro area on government and commercial buildings as well as private homes. No new laws or ordinances are needed to make rainwater harvesting possible. Standards are clearly set out in the state plumbing code and have been on the books since 2009. Adoption of rainwater harvesting practices can proceed immediately and begin producing measurable water savings within weeks.

Bob Drew, chairman of SERHSA, said he is happy to see the RBC recognize the important role rainwater harvesting can play in creating new water resources for the region. He added that he is looking forward to working with the RBC to tackle the important issue of Atlanta’s water supply.

“The metro Atlanta region enjoys some of the most abundant annual rainfall of any major inland city in the nation,” Drew said. “By capturing and using the water that runs off of area rooftops with every rainstorm, rainwater harvesting could provide a significant contribution to meeting metro Atlanta’s future water supply needs.”

A study verified by independent researchers at Georgia Tech concluded that if just one out of every 10 existing metro Atlanta homes and businesses used rainwater harvesting, this technology could potentially reduce demand for water from city and county water systems by roughly 27 million gallons per day. That’s the annual equivalent of filling more than 8,300 Olympic swimming pools with over 6 feet of water. Reaching a 30 percent adoption rate in 10 years would help produce upwards of 100 million gallons of water per day and help address storm water runoff issues.

Terry Lawler, RBC executive director, said the business community is committed to pursuing a range of water conservation measures.  Working with SERHSA to provide a part of the solution, the RBC hopes to offer an immediate, effective response that will help keep the region thriving.

“Like many other large metropolitan areas, metro Atlanta still has water resource challenges that need addressing if we are to continue to attract investments,” Lawler said. “By taking pro-active steps to educate the public and show decision makers that our region is serious about having an ample supply of water for our future needs, our region will continue to grow and prosper.  Over the coming months, the RBC will be partnering with public and private organizations throughout metro Atlanta to show the benefits of investing in rainwater harvesting.”

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Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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