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Tuesday February 9th, 2016 6:54AM

Water conservation still key during times of heavy rain

By Alyson Shields Reporter
GAINESVILLE - Heavy rain doesn't decrease the need to conserve water in North Georgia. In fact, the City of Gainesville Public Utilities Department says now is the time to conserve.

Though few braved the rainy weather for a water conservation meeting this morning, the need to conserve water still holds. The meeting detailed the City of Gainesville Public Utilities Department's upkeep of our local water supply, as well as ways to conserve.

"Water efficiency, water conservation is not going to go away," said Brian Wiley, Environmental Monitoring Coordinator for the City of Gainesville Public Utilities.

"We're getting a lot of rain now, but just as much as we recieve this torrential rainfall, in the next six months we could hit a severe drought again."

Jennifer Flowers, Water Conservation Specialist for the City of Gainesville Public Utilities, says conserving water is really about changing habits. For example, turning off the water during teeth brushing can save three to four gallons each time.

Other habit changes include limiting dishwasher and laundry use to full loads, adding nozzles to garden hoses to prevent continuous water flow and collecting water in a rain barrel to water plants can all save considerable amounts of water.

Changing fixtures can save over 4,000 gallons of water per person per year, according to Flowers. Low-flow shower heads and faucet spigots can adjust the flow of water from the faucets to reduce the gallon amount of water coming out and redistribute the pressure.

"Most shower heads are going to be about 3 gallons per minute and you can change it down to a 1.75 gallon per minute [fixture]," said Flowers. "It has great pressure but it uses less water so the name 'low-flow' is a little misleading."

Replacing three gallon per flush (gpf) toilets with 1.28 gpf will not only save water but can entitle the homeowner to a $75 credit on their water bill. Stipulations apply, however, such as having a home built before 1993. The high-efficiency toilets can save up to 35 gallons of water a day, or 12,775 gallons a year.

Adding rain sensors to a home irrigation system can also cut down on water use. Flowers said the sensors shut off the system when it rains, preventing over-watering.

The city is part of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, which releases water back into Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River and is also participating in Every Drop Counts.
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