By Gerhard Schneibel

The Sandy Springs City Council discussed a list of water conservation alternatives during its Feb. 3 work session, and the City Council assigned city staff to further study the topic.

The city’s water situation can be improved by “public education, awareness, regulation and incentives,” said Chris Miller, the deputy director of community development.

One option would be to require new built-in lawn sprinklers to have a sensor to shut them off when it rains.

“Considering the severity of what we’re facing, $40 on a new system I think would be a very good long-term investment,” Dist. 6 Councilwoman Karen Meinzen McEnerny said.

The council also discussed low-flow toilets for city buildings and new office buildings.

Another point of discussion was the “conservation pricing” system, under which households using fewer gallons per month would pay smaller rates than those using more water. Sandy Springs gets its water from the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, which uses such a system, and Sandy Springs may launch a program to educate residents about conservation pricing.

The council also discussed having restaurants retrofit dishwashing sprayers to use less water, water recycling systems for carwashes and commercial water audits.

“It’s difficult to check on, obviously, but I think it’s something we should provide as an incentive,” Miller said.

Dist. 2 Councilwoman Dianne Fries said: “I know we’re trying to conserve water, but economics the way they are right now, I hate putting the burden on them. I love incentives.”

Another topic was the possibility of systemwide “water reuse trunk lines” being created for irrigation purposes.

“It would require a lot of cooperation between our city staff and local service providers and the city of Atlanta,” Miller said. “I think it’s warranted we take a look at this and see what the overall cost is.”

Mayor Eva Galambos said: “This is probably going to be the long-term solution to sufficient water for growth in the Atlanta area.”

During its regular meeting the same night, the City Council unanimously approved alcoholic beverage licenses for:

• George Karameros of Fishmonger Seafood & Steaks at 6017 Sandy Springs Circle, for on-premises consumption of wine, malt beverages and distilled spirits.

• Wael Ahmed Naguib of Food Mart No. 541 Shell at 5700 Roswell Road, for retail/package sales of malt beverages.

The council unanimously approved a change to the fire prevention and protection code so “appeals to staff interpretations of the City of Sandy Springs building, fire, and life safety codes” will be heard by the Board of Zoning Appeals instead of the Construction Board of Appeals, which is being disbanded.

The council also heard public comments on how money from the 2009 federal community development block grant should be spent.