Award-Winning Water Supply System Lowers Usage and Costs

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) headquarters in Decatur had been coping with high non-potable water usage and costs to support systems fed by the county water supply. In fact, the GBI consumed 1,000,000 gallons during a typical hot August. Hoping to reduce its water usage and its high costs, the GBI collaborated with McKenney’s to implement a more feasible, affordable and sustainable solution. After several years of monitoring water usage and carefully analyzing the data, the GBI staff determined that they consumed an average of 370,000 gallons of water a month—costing $34,400 annually. From this information, they also developed a baseline meter reading for the winter months of just over 140,000 gallons per month. The source of the additional 230,000 gallons per month on average was then pinpointed—the cooling tower make-up water and irrigation systems. To lessen county water usage, the GBI staff developed an innovative alternative water capture system and enlisted McKenney’s engineering expertise and capabilities to implement the system.  It consisted of two cisterns with 10,000-gallon total storage capacity and an on-site well that pumps water to the cisterns. In addition, the system also tapped into condensate water from air handlers in the GBI’s Annex building and diverted rainwater from the building’s roof to the cisterns. McKenney’s also installed a pump, control valves and piping to the cisterns to distribute the stored water to the cooling tower make-up and irrigation systems. With its new non-potable water supply system operating successfully, the GBI expects to achieve $20,000 in cost savings annually, which allows the system to pay for itself in just four years. With such significant results—not only in cost savings but also reduced environmental impact—the project earned a 2013 Innovation Award from the Georgia Association of State Facilities Administrators (GASFA). It also paves the way for other state agencies with a high demand for non- potable water to enlist a similar solution to lower water use and costs, provided it has the infrastructure to support an on-site well and water storage system.


  • Calculate water usage and costs history
  • Pinpoint source of excesses
  • Devise supplemental water supply solution


  • Dig an on-site well and install storage cisterns
  • Capture condensate and rainwater for cisterns
  • Pipe water from cisterns to cooling tower and irrigation systems


  • Cost savings of $20,000 annually
  • Project earned 2013 GASFA Innovation Award
  • System payback of four years
Project Name

CBRE - GBI Utility Management Water Capture and Well Project


3121 Panthersville Road Decatur, Georgia


Owner: Georgia Bureau of Investigation and CBRE, Inc.
Engineer: McKenney’s, Inc.
Contractor: McKenney’s, Inc.