Minimizing Georgia’s Serious Water Problem

After: The effects of drought at Lake Lanier illustrate what the state is up against.

Last weekend I went camping at Lake Hartwell in north Georgia. This weekend, I had the pleasure of camping at Lake Lanier. What did both sites have in common? Lakes that were drastically below their average water level due to drought.

Once my boyfriend and I climbed down to the water’s edge we could look back and see miniature cliffs rising over our heads. They clearly marked where water used to be at some point in history.

“We should be under water right now,” I said quietly.

“It should at least be up to our chins,” he responded. We both turned back to the lake which was still a few feet below us.

Before: Lake Lanier almost close to normal.

Georgia and much of the South is facing a serious water problem that is being ignored on a daily basis. When we’re at home, it’s easy to turn on the faucet, see water come out and assume that everything is at it should be. We might get a flier in the mail asking us not to water our lawn on certain days but overall we figure no further action is needed. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Maybe you don’t give a rat’s tail about plants and animals. Maybe you live off of soda and Red Bull and haven’t had a glass of water since your last pre-employment drug test. Consider this:

A.) Water is required to flush toilets, take showers, wash your car and other things that you might enjoy. Conserving water will help you enjoy those activities longer.

B.) Water makes things prettier. I went for a walk through Roswell park and the nearby stream was reduced to a trickling brook and a few puddles. The rest was a muddy mess. And you know the beautiful, multicolored leaves that we’ve come to enjoy each fall? Without enough water the leaves will go from green to brown and fall to the ground.

I’ve found a few suggestions for conserving water that are nearly effortless:

  1. Bathe and get out. Sure it feels good to let the water run over your for half and hour but it’s wasteful. You can save about 130 gallons a month with shorter showers.
  2. When waiting for bath or dishwater to warm up, run the cold, unwanted water into a bucket or pot. Use that water later for rinsing dishes, watering plants, or give it to your pets.

    Image by IdeaGo

  3. Look for local car washes that are water efficient. Eco Auto Clean Atlanta doesn’t use water at all and the results are fabulous.
  4. Flush only when needed. Toss dead bugs in a trash can instead of flushing them. “If it’s yellow, let it mellow” works great, especially if you don’t share a bathroom.
  5. If you see a leak, report it. For example, we saw water flowing through the parking lot at a shopping center and realized that the sprinkler was broken. Reporting a simple problem to the property owner (or at least a store in the shopping center) could help them fix a problem they might not have recognized.

Find more easy water-saving tips at WaterUseItWisely.com.

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