The Wonder of Water (And Why We Must Protect It)

We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.” — Jacques Yves Cousteau

Often inspiring the work of artists like Claude Monet and poets like Emily Dickinson, water can be unequivocally beautiful. That is particularly true of Gwinnett County – whether watching the sunset over Lake Lanier or strolling a sunlit path along the Chattahoochee River. However, the wonder of water goes much deeper than that. It serves as a life sustainer for the fauna that live in it, the flora that draws from it and the creatures that drink from it – whether at the water’s edge or from a tap at home, school or work.

The month of May not only represents Drinking Water Week May 2-8, 2021, but it also signifies the observation of Water Professionals Day in Georgia on Monday, May 3. Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful is proud to shine the spotlight on our friends at Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the work they do to produce more than 70M gallons of water every day to be used by Gwinnett County residents and businesses. Of that 70M gallons, DWR provides enough for the sustainable protection of local waterbodies, as well as safe, clean water for nearly one million Gwinnett County residents. It also provides water and/or sewer services to more than 240,000 customer accounts and offers 24/7/365 emergency on-call services to support all its systems – water, sewer and stormwater.

Over the last two decades DWR has invested nearly $1 billion to ensure that the water it processes and returns to the environment is among the highest quality in the country. Meanwhile, it conducts extensive water-related research to keep its current processes up-to-date and prepare for the future by partnering with local universities, national research organizations, and international experts.

Gwinnett County has two award-winning water filter plants, the Lanier Filter Plant and the Shoal Creek Filter Plant, as well as 10 water storage tanks and nearly 4,000 miles of distribution pipes throughout the county—holding more than 100 million gallons of water. The sole water source for the county is Lake Lanier.

While the work the Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources is uncommonly stellar, it’s important that we as Gwinnett County citizens and businesses do our part to protect it. Here are just a few ways you can help:

  • Become a Part of Adopt-A-Stream: Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful offers a great way for you to have a direct impact. Our Adopt-A-Stream program provides you with the training, tools and certifications required to properly observe and report your findings at a local stream to GC&B and our partners at Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources so we can monitor the health of our area waterways – a vital component of our local environment.
  • Conserve Water at Home: While we are currently not under drought conditions, Gwinnett County recommends following these guidelines: Landscape and lawn irrigation is allowed before 10:00am and after 4:00pm; Personal food gardens may be watered at any time of day; New seed or sod may be watered at any time of day during the first 30 days after installation; and There are no restrictions on the use of soaker hoses or watering with a handheld container. Inside, there are steps you can take to conserve water, as well. Limit the length of your showers – and consider taking a bucket in with you to catch water that can later be used to water the flowerbeds. Don’t keep the tap running when brushing your teeth. And only run the wash cycle when the dishwasher or washing machine are full.
  • Don’t Litter (and Pick Up Litter When You See It): The litter that you see along roadways is often washed into local waterways during heavy rains. An important way to limit the litter that makes its way into creeks, streams, rivers and the lake is not to litter in the first place. If you don’t litter but have grown tired of the sight of trash on the way home or to school and work, you might consider becoming part of our Adopt-A-Road program or get in the habit of bringing a trash bag with you on morning or evening strolls to pick up litter along the way.
  • Be Aware of the Dangers of Nonpoint Source Pollution: Fertilizers and insecticides that you apply to your lawn, oil from your car, and pet waste all fall under the category of nonpoint source pollution. Rain, watering your lawn or washing your car may cause runoff that winds up in storm drains and eventually in our waterways. To limit this, be careful in choosing your fertilizers and insecticides, use caution when changing or adding oil to your car at home, and pick up pet waste immediately.

To learn more about Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources and the hard work of its employees, please visit the DWR website.