By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Water by request
Some restaurants find conserving water can be as simple as asking before serving a glass
Asking before serving a glass of water is one way restaurants are saving the precious resource. - photo by Tom Reed

During our new age of water conservation in Georgia, even local restaurants are doing their part to conserve the precious commodity.

Recently the Georgia Restaurant Association recommended restaurants to limit their water use by serving it only on the request of patrons.

The GRA partnered with Gas South and created table tent cards, available to member restaurants free of charge, to make guests aware of the new policy.

"Restaurants have used tent cards for years for any number of things, and we have used them in the past when we have had water shortages," said Ron Wolf, executive director of the GRA. "So there wasn’t an original idea, but it hadn’t been done in a while. So we created a tent card ... and we make them available to our members and any restaurant."

The association will either give the preprinted cards to a restaurant or they can download their own, he said.

"They can come by the office and pick up what they need or if they will pay for shipping we will ship them or they can download the PDF right from our Web site and they can print their own."

Wolf wasn’t sure how many restaurants are taking advantage of the free program but "I think there has been a fair amount of distribution. We’ve printed 10,000 in hard copy and we have probably distributed 5,000 of those."

Along with saving the glass of water that may or may not be used, the program also saves on the water it takes to clean the glass.

"There is a statistic out there that says approximately the equivalent of eight 8-ounce glasses of water are used to wash a single glass," Wolf said. "So I think the assumption is not only are you saving the water itself from not drinking it but you are saving the water by washing fewer glasses."

Scott Dixon, owner and chef at Scott’s on the Square, said when he opened the restaurant on Dec. 10 that water conservation was a top priority.

"It’s kind of near and dear to my heart," Dixon said. "Because I am a sailor and I’m always up on the lake and I can see the effects everyday. We are not serving water on the tables, we are doing water only upon request."

Michelle Schreck, co-owner of Grapes & Hops Bar & Bistro in Flowery Branch, said they also are only serving water by request.

"And basically making sure we are running full loads of dishes," she said.

Dixon added that at Scott’s on the Square, which is located on the downtown Gainesville square in the former Hiroba space, they are also currently taking other conservation steps.

"We don’t do any water or forced thawing, like running anything under water," he said, adding that they also look to the dishwasher to save on water, too.

"We only run full loads of dishes when we do run the dishwasher. And we have a high-efficiency dishwasher anyway," he said. "And we consolidate and do all of our pots and pans at one time, so we are not using multiple batches of the big sinks full of water."

Wolf said the new year will also bring a new round of conservation efforts in the restaurant industry.

"There is a coalition formed with Coca-Cola, the GRA and several others and groups from the state that are taking a much closer look at the beginning of the year at ways that we can conserve water," Wolf said. "And not just our industry but in a general sense; it’s going to be a significant effort with the state agencies and industry leaders. There may be incentives, too.

"There are number of different things they will be looking at."