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A Busy Friday for Water News

December 11, 2009

Today’s been a busy day for water news around Georgia – here’s a roundup.

Where to begin? State Sen. Jim Butterworth, who represents the northeast corner of the state, showed up in the AJC with a column similar to what ran in some smaller papers earlier in the week.

The Athens Banner-Herald has a well-done story from yesterday’s Georgia Water Coalition teleconference media briefing featuring Mary Ann Dickinson, president and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency. Dickinson discussed the opportunity that Metro Atlanta has to meet much of its water needs through water conservation and efficiency and at a cost significantly less than other options. She offered examples from other metropolitan areas in the Southeast and across the nation where communities have met their water needs through conservation and efficiency and saved millions – in gallons of water and dollars. (Read more here or listen to the audio from the briefing here.)

The Banner-Herald story and this one in the Atlanta Business Chronicle also look ahead to this afternoon’s meeting of the Governor’s Water Contingency Task Force. The Business Chronicle story focuses on Lake Burton, which is part of the Savannah River basin and part of the reason for concern from Butterworth and other Northeast Georgia legislators. Look out for more news from the Contingency Task Force meeting tonight and into the weekend, for sure.

And the water efficiency storyline received some radio air time today too, both on WABE (Atlanta’s public radio, 90.1 FM) and on the Georgia News Network via WGST 640 AM-Atlanta. (Links for these to come, hopefully.)

One more: GPB radio’s John Sepulvado did a story today featuring interviews with Savannah Riverkeeper Tonya Bonitatibus, Coosa Riverkeeper Joe Cook and others.  Find it here — be sure to click the “play” icon near the bottom of the page.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. DrinkMoreWater permalink
    December 12, 2009 6:49 pm

    “conservation and efficiency and saved millions – in gallons of water and dollars.”
    The reality is that the costs of delivering safe, clean water to our homes and businesses are fixed and can’t really be reduced. The amount of infrastructure in a larger city is hundreds of millions of dollars and it costs tens of millions $ per year to operate. So conserving water only reduces the amount of water consumers use and then drives up the cost for each unit of water. Costs have to be covered and if you are selling less the price must go up.
    Water should be priced so it’s full value is recognized.

    • December 14, 2009 9:22 am

      Pricing water at its full value is important and generally not happening.

      Conservation pricing, if implemented properly, does just that. It takes into account the costs associated with producing, transporting, and treating water – the fixed and the variable costs (of which there are some: chemicals for treatment, energy for treatment and transport, etc.) and ensures that those costs are covered. Conservation pricing, again, if executed properly also projects forward and takes into account the effects of reduced consumption due to efficiency programs and pricing and then prices the water accordingly to cover future costs with lower water consumption levels.

      The right conservation price structure is different for every utility and must be tailored to their customer base and seasonal use patterns. If done right, it is a very effective tool that creates the right price signal and values water as the precious resource that it is.

    • December 14, 2009 9:35 am

      Mary Ann Dickinson, CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, did a media briefing last week to explain the opportunity Metro Atlanta has to meet their water supply needs through efficiency and conservation. She did a great job of explaining how utilities can aggressively pursue water efficiency and conservation and protect their revenues. You can listen here:

  2. Ben Emanuel permalink
    December 12, 2009 9:16 pm

    Yeah, appropriate conservation pricing would probably need to be a piece of any efficiency overhaul in metro Atlanta. That’s why it’s one of the five measures listed here (scroll down):

  3. DrinkMoreWater permalink
    December 13, 2009 4:40 pm

    “Conservation pricing” only leads to trouble if there is no full cost pricing
    If “conservation pricing” leads to lower water sales then the cost must go up even further so sufficient income is earned. This then can lead to even less water sales, potential financial ruin for water service providers and cities, and higher costs for customers at poverty level/fixed income.

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