Recognizing local governments for achieving excellence in water resources management

Becoming a WaterFirst Community demonstrates a local government's commitment to responsible water stewardship for environmental and economic benefits. Communities that earn the WaterFirst designation are eligible for financial and other benefits from the state of Georgia.

WaterFirst benefits include:

  • Statewide recognition for environmental stewardship
  • 1 percent interest rate reduction on GEFA loans
  • Annual eligibility for water-related project applications to the Community Development Block Grant Program through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs
  • Priority status for the 319(h) Grant Program administered by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

A community must pass an onsite review to receive the WaterFirst designation. Readiness for the onsite review is determined through the WaterFirst application process and a water resources management audit.

WaterFirst Workshop 2022

Attendees heard from designated WaterFirst Communities and GEFA staff members about the program and discussed water, wastewater, and stormwater funding options. 

Click here to watch

WaterFirst Webinars

The webinar series is for Georgia communities interested in pursuing the WaterFirst designation.

WaterFirst Webinar: Lessons Learned 

Designated WaterFirst Communities spoke about the WaterFirst application and on-site review process. Each speaker shared lessons learned, challenges, and how they overcame hurdles. Click here to watch. 

WaterFirst Webinar: Best practices for water conservation 

Laurie Loftin, a member of the Georgia Water Wise Council discussed water conservation in this webinar. Laurie, focused on water conservation measures and provided information that participants can use to encourage water conservation among their customers. Click here to watch.

WaterFirst Webinar: Minimum environmental requirements of the state

Staff from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division discussed minimum environmental requirements and provided an overview of the WaterFirst Program and its benefits. Click here to watch.

WaterFirst Webinar: Hear from the WaterFirst application reviewers

Hear directly from a panel of individuals who review the WaterFirst applications. The panel discussed the process from a reviewer’s perspective and engaged in a question-and-answer session with participants. Click here to watch. 

Contact us for more information.

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