Population growth has residents fearing future water shortage - CBS46 News

Population growth has residents fearing future water shortage

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

Gwinnett County's population is still growing, but more people moving in means more people using water.

CBS46 spoke with county leaders to find out how they are getting ready to keep up with increasing demand.

"We'd have plenty of water, but with us supplying other states no we aren't. Lake Lanier will dry up like it did a couple of years ago," said Joseph Haddock.

The Shoal Creek Filter Plant in Buford pulls water straight from Lake Lanier for people to use, however, the lake is not getting any bigger. Officials now say they are relying on other measure to keep up with the growing demands.

Rebecca Shelton is the Department of Water Resources deputy director. She says they're planning for the county's forecasted population growth.

"We are doing master plans of our water production, our drinking water treatment plants as well as our distribution system," said Shelton. 'We build our facilities with the future in mind."

Despite the belief that county facilities will be able to keep up with the population, officials stress that customers do their part to conserve the limited resource.

Gwinnett's population is about 920,000 people and that could increase another half million people in the next 20 years.

Even with growth, Shelton says they've seen a five percent decrease in usage over the last five years.

"They can get up to a $100 rebate on their water bill by replacing their old inefficient toilet with a new low flow toilet. In the 10 years we've had that program it's saving about 400,000 gallons a day," she said. "Think about how much water you really need to use to keep your landscape. There are lots of different smart irrigation methods, water wise landscaping that you can use to reduce your outdoor watering."

She says conservation is the answer to the future.

Outdoor watering accounts for about 21 percent of the residential water consumption in the county.

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