October 20, 2016

Technical assistance program helps Georgia communities with water stewardship

In 2010, the Georgia General Assembly passed the Georgia Water Stewardship Act (GWSA) that stated all public Georgia water systems, serving more than 3,300 individuals had to conduct an annual water loss audit. The bill was created to encourage a “culture of water conservation” in areas where water resources were limited.

To support the GWSA, the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) developed the Water Loss Technical Assistance Program to provide small utilities (systems serving between 3,300 and 10,000 customers) with training on water loss and how to use audit results for future water system planning and improvements.

After the audit training concluded, these small utilities were invited to apply for technical assistance through the federal Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The technical assistance helped 51 utilities with finished water meter flow verification, custom meter testing, and pilot leak detection. The results of this program were so compelling that another round of technical assistance was provided, and 47 small utilities qualified and participated.

Following the success with small water systems, GEFA offered the program to medium-sized utilities that served between 10,000 to 100,000 customers. The types of technical assistance projects were expanded to accommodate the needs of these larger utilities. In addition to the three project types offered to small utilities, large diameter pipe condition assessment, direct metered area evaluation, and pilot pressure measurement evaluation were added for the medium-sized utilities. Thirty-seven medium-sized utilities received technical assistance.

In 2014, GEFA was the recipient of a National Recognition Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) for this program—a prestigious distinction honoring projects that demonstrate exceptional achievements in engineering.

To date, the Water Loss Technical Assistance Program has provided technical assistance to more than 130 water utilities across the state of Georgia. The utilities now have a much better understanding of water loss within its systems and the corrective measures that can be undertaken to conserve water and save money.

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