The Official Portal for the State of Georgia

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue
Georgia Seal

Governor Perdue Focuses on Water Planning in Environmental Address

Wednesday, September 26, 2007  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Designates WaterFirst® Communities; Announces waterSmart® Educational Program


ATLANTA During his annual address to the Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful luncheon today in Lawrenceville, Governor Sonny Perdue focused on Georgia’s severe drought and the urgent need for a statewide water plan and increased water conservation by all citizens. 

“The time for a statewide comprehensive water plan is now,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.  “We need a thoughtful, unified plan that truly meets our long-term needs for a stable, secure and clean water supply.”

The creation of a statewide water plan for Georgia was mandated through the Comprehensive Statewide Water Management Planning Act that passed the legislature and signed by the Governor in 2004.  The plan is currently in draft form for public comment through statewide hearings through the month of October 2007.  The final plan will be presented to the Georgia General Assembly in January 2008.

Between the years 1985 and 2000, the number of individuals in Georgia served by public water providers increased by 44 percent.  In the same time period, water use increased by 50 percent, indicating that water use in Georgia is increasing faster than the population is growing.

Governor Perdue also announced that the cities of Griffin and Rome and Tifton/Tift County will be added into the state’s list of WaterFirst® Communities.  The WaterFirst® Community designation officially recognizes the commitment of communities to excellence in water resource management and stewardship. These three communities are the first to receive the designation in 2007 and collectively bring the total number of WaterFirst® designated communities to 11.

Griffin, Rome and Tifton/ Tift County will be recognized in formal designation ceremonies in the next few months.

“In a time when Georgia is facing a severe drought and embarking on the first statewide water comprehensive plan, it is reassuring to know that local governments, especially our WaterFirst® communities, are taking extra steps needed to manage and protect our precious water resources,” said Governor Perdue. “I commend the leadership of Griffin, Rome, Tifton and Tift County for choosing to go above and beyond legal requirements to protect Georgia’s water resources. Their efforts are playing a huge role in moving our state’s ongoing and future environmental efforts forward.

Georgia’s WaterFirst® Community Program, led by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), is a voluntary partnership between local governments, state and federal agencies and other organizations working to improve the management and protection of our shared water resources.

Previously designated WaterFirst® communities include the Clayton County/ Clayton County Water Authority (2003), Cobb County/Cobb-Marietta Water Authority (2005), Columbus Waterworks/ Columbus Consolidated Government (2004), Gwinnett County (2003), City of Hartwell (2004), City of Savannah (2003), Tybee of Island (2005) and City of Braselton (2006).

Governor Perdue also discussed the waterSmart®  program, a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) pilot program that educates homeowners and students about common sense changes to their outdoor water use habits, teaching them simple things like choosing drought-tolerant plants or using plenty of mulch to retain moisture. 

The waterSmart® program also targets Georgia schools.  Through waterSmart®, every middle school science teacher in Georgia will soon receive conservation-themed information and posters.

WaterSmart®  is also working with the Board of Regents to help Georgia’s colleges and universities establish water-friendly landscaping practices.  For more information about waterSmart®, go to