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Thinking about the drought news, I remembered this diary from the 2007 drought in Georgia and the Southeast USA about Clayton County which designed a wastewater recharge system that saved them from the worst aspects of that drought.  Thought it might be useful to remind people, especially Californians, of this story now.

Clayton County officials say their area is the only one in Metro Atlanta not struggling with severe drought.

"It's raining every day in Clayton County," said Michael Thomas, general manager of the Clayton County Water Authority. "We're putting 10 million gallons of water a day back in."

Drought fears struck Clayton more than 20 years ago, and county officials started to think ahead. The result: an elaborate series of 21 man-made wetlands and reservoirs that allows the county to collect 10 million gallons of wastewater a day and eventually convert it to drinking water.

While Atlanta residents may have less than 80 days left of water from Lake Lanier, Clayton citizens are well beyond 250 days, Thomas said.

Construction of the wetlands has cost Clayton about $15 million in bond money.

The county will spend $10 million on the fourth phase, but that will come from water and sewer fees, which have been increased for next year.

Thomas says those fees are saving taxpayers in the end. The wetlands not only take up less land, they require less work. Since building the wetlands, the water authority has cut its maintenance staff from 13 to 5. Workers previously had to check 20,000 sprinkler heads daily; now, they take an occasional sample and mow grass twice a year.

The wetlands also have reduced the water authority's monthly electric bill by 60 percent. Officials say they will save another $25,000 on monthly electric costs once the fourth wetland phase is finished.

"It's all natural. Nothing is pushing the water, so there's no power," Thomas said. "It all flows from gravity."

Hat tip to Treehugger

The quotes are from an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story whose link is dead:

However, I did find these pictures and captions from that story:

There is also this NPR story on the Clayton County wastewater recharge system from 2008:

And The Clayton County Water Authority can speak for itself at

Solar IS Civil Defense


More wastewater recharge systems to protect us from drought?

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