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Save Water

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Rock the Fade

About our model: A water plant operator/mechanic at the Murphree Water Treatment Plant, James has been wearing the same haircut since his school days, with a few short-lived exceptions. “I think it fits me,” he says. “Maybe I switched it up once or twice in high school when I was going through a phase.” He never thought about how keeping shorter hair could save him water prior to this campaign. “But I’ll tell you what,” James says. “Since working at GRU, I have definitely found ways to not be so wasteful. It definitely reflects in my water bill.” 

What is your role at GRU and what does it entail?

I am a water plant operator/ mechanic at the Murphee Water Treatment Plant. We send out all of the water in the distribution system after it’s been treated. Of course, that goes to your sink, the water that you use to take a shower, pretty much any running water you have in your house, it comes from us. On the mechanic side of things, we do it all here. If anything breaks, we fix it. If anything needs to be tweaked, we do it. All kinds of preventative maintenance.

How long have you worked at GRU?

I have been here about a year and a half.

What is your favorite part about working at GRU?

I got lucky. At the plant that I work at it’s pretty much like a family. I came in as a trainee, and I didn’t know what to expect. Everybody helps me out when they can, and you’re not looked down upon. They all want you to learn. The more we all learn, the more valuable we are together. Working where I work and the people that I work with are amazing as a whole.

Do you have any particular accomplishment that was exceptionally gratifying during your time at GRU?

Not yet. I haven’t gotten my first license yet, but I am going to take my test in two weeks. If we did this interview in two weeks I’d be able to tell you, “Yeah! I got my license!”

Did you ever think you would be the star of a GRU campaign? How did you feel about being one of the faces of the Save Water campaign?

I never thought about it. When I heard about it, I thought it would be pretty cool to get my face out there in the GRU community.

Has working at GRU changed your water conservation habits at home? What are some ways you save water in your home?

I definitely have changed some of my habits. In the summer, you have kids out of school and more people home, so you’re using more water. When I see that I am using too much, I do what I can, but I am just one person. My family may have their sprinklers on for their lawns, and I always let them know to keep them off when it rains.

Have you always styled your hair in a fade?

Yes, that’s pretty much the haircut I have always had since I was small.

Do you think you would take longer showers if you had longer hair?

Oh, I definitely would. You got to stay clean. I pretty much wash my hair maybe once every week since it is so short. If I had longer hair, I’d have far more problems with keeping it clean.

Did you realize you were saving water and lowering your water bill by having a fade?

It came to light after doing this campaign. But I’ll tell you what, since working at GRU, I have definitely found ways to just not be so wasteful. It definitely reflects in my water bill!

How do you think this campaign can help GRU inspire other customers to save water?

My biggest thing is being aware. A lot of people aren’t thinking about saving water or the effort we make at the water plant. They don’t know that the more water we treat, the more we have to dispose of and the more it costs us. A lot of people don’t know these things, so being aware is important. Maybe if they knew what was going on at the water treatment plants, then they would help save water.

 - As told to Gwyneth Malesich, GRU intern


Beard More ... Shave Less!

About our beard modelAdam is a crew leader in the water department, fixing leaks, installing meters and lots of other jobs that help GRU provide safe and reliable drinking water to our customers. Over the past 13 years, he has worked his way up from doing irrigation for the City of Gainesville to his current position. “I guess we can consider that a pretty big accomplishment,” he humbly says. We sat down with Adam (well, Zoomed him, actually) to find out more about his job, his conservation efforts and his beard.  

What's is your favorite part about working at GRU?   

I have an opportunity to be out and about helping people, fixing leaks and working with some good people – making an impact on the community and being there for the customer.    

Has working at GRU changed your water conservation habits at home?  

I’ve got two girls, so one likes to fill the bathtub up. I teach my kids to take shorter showers, not to fill up the bath too much, not to sit there with the water running after they brush their teeth. I also watch my irrigation schedule. I irrigate in nighttime hours when it's dark so the water doesn't evaporate in the heat of the day.  

How long have you been growing your beard?    

Probably eight years.  

Did you ever think you and your beard would be the star of a GRU campaign?   

Not at all. When they came to me, I was happy to do it. It was fun.  

When you used to shave, how long did it take?   

About five minutes or so because I always kind of had facial hair, and I let the sink run while I was doing it. Now, my hair, I’m bald, and I can do that while I’m showering. I am already in there and not standing at the sink. When you're shaving, you're gonna have to stand at the sink to watch yourself, whereas, when I’m shaving my head, I just do it in the shower real quick, and I’m done.   

After learning about how not shaving can save water, will you continue to grow your beard to enhance your conservation efforts?   


How do you think this campaign can help GRU inspire other customers to save water?   

Obviously, a beard is not for everybody. It might bring light to the fact that when you are shaving maybe not keep the water running. Some people can't grow a beard or can't grow it for work, whatever the reasoning, but it can definitely teach people to be more mindful of their routine.  

Aside from saving water, what are the pros to having a beard?   

Well, I mean, it looks awesome!  

 - As told to Gwyneth Malesich, GRU intern

Short Hair, Don't Care!

Barbara Misener may keep a short cut, but she doesn’t take any. A supervising engineer in the Water/Wastewater Department, Barbara has worked at GRU for 12 years, taking great pride in the relationships she’s forged around the utility and her continued commitment to energy and water conservation.

What do you find gratifying about your job?

Being a problem solver and helping people in the community get water and sewer service.

Did you ever think you and your hair would be the star of a GRU campaign?

Absolutely not did I ever think that my hair and myself would ever be the star of a GRU campaign.

What made you decide to keep your hair short? Did you previously have long hair?

It was long for a while, and I was working out a lot and I have curly, thick hair, so it takes forever to dry. I was swimming a lot, and I wanted to always take showers to get all the gook off you. Having shorter hair is easier to maintain.

What are the pros (aside from saving water) to having short hair?

I might take more showers, but I take shorter showers. I just get in and get out. I’m trying to teach my son to do that, but it’s not working very well.

Did you recognize the substantial amount of water you were saving when you decided to cut your hair?

I came to that realization quickly. You look at your water bill and you're like, oh, wow, this is good. I came to the realization quickly that I was taking shorter showers and saving money on my bill.

What other ways do you save water in your home?

I try not to run the water when I’m brushing my teeth or washing the dishes. I don't irrigate. I try to conserve water and be conscious with my water use.

Tools and Information to Help You Save Money and Reduce Water Use

Quick Tips

Home Surveys

Request a free home survey, and our trained staff will inspect your home to identify ways you can reduce your energy and water use.

Irrigation Rules

Local watering restrictions change with the clocks. Follow these mandatory rules to save money while keeping your lawn healthy.

Water Leaks

Learn how to detect and repair water leaks, and find out how much a typical leak will cost you each month on our Save Water, Fix Leaks sheet.

Water Conservation

Our water conservation philosophy is simple: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Learn more on how we are protecting this valuable resource while planning for the future of your water.

Water Quality

Find out what we are doing to maintain the purity and quality of your drinking water in the Water Quality Report.

Local Water Programs

Lower your bill while reducing your water footprint. Check out some tips and programs from our local water partners to reduce the amount of water you use.