Water conservation tips
- Repair leaking faucets.
- Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes.
- Scrape dishes off instead of rinsing when loading the dishwasher.
- Water landscapes only when needed; very early morning or evening is best.
- Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap until it is cold.
- Sweep or blow paved areas clean instead of hosing them off.
- Use mulch around shrubs and garden plants to reduce evaporation from the soil surface.
- Use native plants in your landscape; they require less care and water than ornamental varieties.
- Do not install or use ornamental water features unless they recycle the water.
- Install moisture sensors on sprinkler systems.
Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
JEFFERSON — In June, when the state Environmental Protection Division lifted the two-year outdoor watering ban, most Georgia residents rejoiced.
The change meant more freedom to water lawns that hadn’t seen unrestricted watering since 2007. The measure that was once seen as a gift has turned into a curse for some Jefferson residents when they recently opened surprisingly high water bills.
"The bills that customers received around the first of September was from water usage from the middle of July to around the middle of August," said Jeff Killip, Jefferson Public Works director. "Water usage during the summer months is usually higher than any other time of the year and when the ban was lifted, usage went up even more."
According to the U.S. Environmental Agency, the average American home uses around 260 gallons of water per day. In the summer months, that amount increases to about 1,000 gallons per day.
Because the state was under restricted water usage in November when the city approved new tiered water rates, most residents didn’t notice the change when they received their bill in January
because they were already using less water, Killip says.
"The change came from
encouragement at the state levels to municipalities to use tiered rates," said Killip. "The idea here is that the more water a customer uses, the more they pay; it is a direct conservation effort."
During a recent city council meeting, Jefferson City Manager John Ward informed the group that there have been some complaints from residents who questioned their now higher bills.
"We’ve been finding that the majority of the higher bills are the result of a leak that has now been discovered or from residents trying to keep their grass green," Ward said to the council.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a leaky faucet that releases a single drop of water per second can waste 2,700 gallons of water per year. The agency also reports that an unattended garden hose can release more than 600 gallons of water in just a couple of hours.