Every Drop Counts: Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Water Drop Dash

logo for Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning DistrictEstablished in 2001, the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (the District) has implemented one of the most comprehensive regional water management plans in the country. It includes 15 counties and 95 cities and is staffed by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). The District promotes water conservation in homes and businesses all year round, not just in times of drought, and encourages all metro-Atlantans to do their part to conserve water!

Before the District was established in 2001, there was no regional standard for water conservation and efficiency in metro Atlanta. Per capita water consumption in the Metro Water District area averaged 150 gallons per day. (Source: Metro Water District)

That’s enough to fill over 20 standard bathtubs per person each week.

Within a few years, the District – working with local governments, utilities, and stakeholders – quickly put into place regional conservation and efficiency requirements that would help reduce per capita water withdrawals.

In 2009, the District adopted the first update of its Water Resource Management Plan, which included measures that promoted U.S. EPA’s WaterSense Program. WaterSense is a voluntary partnership program and is both a label for water-efficient products and a resource for helping residents, businesses, local governments, and manufacturers save water.

Also in 2009, the US EPA WaterSense program established Fix a Leak Week. Fix a Leak Week is an national, annual event that reminds people to find and fix leaks inside and outside their homes.

Did you know? 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more every day. (Source: EPA)

Each year local governments and water utilities bring Fix a Leak Week front and center, hosting events and providing resources to inform and educate their residents.

From South Lake Tahoe, California to Charlottesville, Virginia, events hosted across the country – including our region’s own Water Drop Dash 5K and Water Festival – raise awareness for water conservation and efficiency.

2022 marks the 10th Anniversary of the Water Drop Dash! For ten years, thousands of participants have joined us and our hosting partner, the Chattahoochee Nature Center, during Fix a Leak Week to chase down leaks and running toilets in our effort to promote water conservation.

Check your fixtures for leaks.

Twist any loose parts that may be contributing to drips or add a new aerator to use less water without a noticeable difference in flow.

Replace worn out fixtures with WaterSense labeled models.

According to EPA’s WaterSense program, household leaks account for over 900 billion gallons of wasted water every year. Did you know the most common culprit of household leaks is a toilet, often caused by a worn-out flapper? The good news is that a toilet flapper is very easy to replace.

Since the first Water Drop Dash in 2013, over 1,000 runners have completed over 15,000 miles during Fix a Leak Week, helping to raise awareness for water conservation and efficiency.

Many runners participate in the Water Drop Dash year after year. One repeat runner, David Bell has run in the race every year for the last 10 years. At his very first Water Drop Dash, he remembers the fun costumes other runners wore during the race.

He also says the Water Drop Dash has inspired him to conserve water in his everyday life. He enjoys seeing familiar faces every year and being on the Chattahoochee Nature Center property next to the Chattahoochee River.

David’s best advice when looking for leaks?

“Pay attention to your water bill relative to your average home water use. Evidence of an unknown leak could show up on your bill.” Early detection will conserve water and save you money.

To be more water conscious when watering his garden, David says he waters the garden in the morning and evenings in the summer rather than in the hotter middle of the day when more water is lost to evaporation. Be sure to follow Georgia’s year-round watering restrictions, which limit watering to before 10 AM or after 4 PM.

View DIY Household Water Audit

Another regular Water Drop Dash runner, Keith Mazonkey, reflects on his very first Water Drop Dash.

“I just remember thinking ‘this is the flattest road 5K course I’ve done in Atlanta!’ I was also very impressed with the water conservation information I received after the race. I came home with a water efficient showerhead which we still use today.”

“If it wasn’t for the Water Drop Dash, I would probably still have the older model installed!”

Keith also says that the Water Drop Dash raised his awareness of water efficient fixtures, and WaterSense labeled models.

“When purchasing items that require water, I always try to make sure the product is water efficient and look for the WaterSense label. All of our toilets in our home are water efficient now.”

One way the Water Drop Dash helps to inspire the community to act in water conscious ways is by showcasing the beautiful Chattahoochee River.

Each year, the Chattahoochee Nature Center hosts the in-person race, reminding the community about where their water comes from.

“The Chattahoochee River is critically important to the region’s water supply. The Chattahoochee Nature Center’s mission and work aligns with the message of the Water Drop Dash: that every drop of water counts. We’re proud to have partnered with the Metro Water District on this effort for the past 10 years.”

– Natasha Rice, Chief Executive Officer/ President of Chattahoochee Nature Center

Dash, the running water drop, has been a familiar face as the mascot for the Water Drop Dash. This year, the runners who participate in the anniversary celebration virtual 10K receive a special commemorative Dash pin.

Participants who run in-person get to experience race day festivities, as well as free access to the Chattahoochee Nature Center on the day of the race.

Dash is also often featured on the Water Drop Dash t-shirt design. For the last four years, the District has hosted a t-shirt design contest for local graphic designers. The winning image is featured on the race t-shirt each year.

Interested in running the Water Drop Dash this year? If you stick around after the race, be sure to attend the post-race Water Festival. You can visit booths from local water utilities and community partners. You’ll learn about water conservation and fixing leaks and take home some great giveaways.