• Homeowners saving thousands on bills using groundwater


    NORTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - A group of north Fulton County homeowners is saving tens of thousands of dollars yearly on their water bills, all while keeping the environment their first priority.

    Jaqueline Cress-Mills, senior property manager at One River Place in Sandy Springs, told Channel 2’s Katie Walls that their 33-acre property’s landscape drinks up approximately 6,000 gallons of water every day, the equivalent of $42,000 annually.

    Looking for a more cost-effective way to water the property, One River Place called Dave Ward, owner of D.W. Water Systems. He explained that groundwater belongs to whoever lives above it.

    “It is your water. When you own a piece of property in Georgia, anywhere east of the Mississippi, you have riparian rights that give you rights to the water under your property,” Ward said.

    Beneath north Georgia’s soil is granite. Groundwater exists within openings, also called fractures, within the rock and is more plentiful beneath the metro than you may think.

    According to the National Groundwater Association, groundwater is 20 to 30 times greater than the amount in all the lakes, streams and rivers of the United States.

    Using groundwater, instead of surface water sources like rivers and lakes, is the key to water conservation, according to Dan Harman, senior hydrogeologist for Ground-Water Services, Inc.

    “The more groundwater is used, the less surface water is needed; that is true conservation,” Harman said.

    For One River Place a 450-foot deep well pumps water into a retention pond, serving as a water feature and irrigation source for the property.

    When the sprinklers kick on, it’s no longer money going down the drain.

    “It is a more economical and ecological way to handle the landscape needs of this property,” said Allen Ferrell, president of One River Place Master Association. “If we take the water from underneath us and pump it up and use it, it goes back down into a recycling effort, so we like to think that we’re a little more self-sufficient.”

    Ferrell said the more than 700 residents were in favor of the change.

    “Everyone was in favor of it. I can’t think of a single one who had any bad thoughts about it,” Ferrell said.

    Cress-Mills expects the well to pay for itself in just one year.

    Next Up: