About JCWSA & Frequently Asked Questions 

About Jackson County Water & Sewerage Authority

Jackson County and Municipalities Background & Governance

The JCWSA was created as a political subdivision of the State of Georgia by an act of the Georgia General Assembly in 1986 to facilitate providing water and sewer service to citizens of Jackson County. The JCWSA is governed by a 5-member board of directors, each of whom must reside in Jackson County, and each is appointed by the board of commissioners of Jackson County. Members serve staggered 3-year terms without compensation for a period not to exceed 9-years. An Authority member can not be reappointed after 3 consecutive terms without at least one year of inactive status. Currently, the board members are:

  • Dylan Wilbanks, Chairman
  • Christopher Nichols, Vice-Chair
  • Kevin Poe
  • Tommy Benton
  • Wade Johnson

The JCWSA operates as an independent political subdivision of the state, similar to counties and cities in Georgia. However, the Authority is not a taxing entity and therefore operates as an enterprise, meaning it operates solely off of the revenues from water and sewer billings and fees.

In the past, the JCWSA did receive a percentage of the Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) dollars from Jackson County. SPLOST dollars were used exclusively for large water projects including transmission lines, large mains, water towers and pumping stations. At the close of the 2011 calendar year, the Authority no longer received any portion of SPLOST.

Your Water. Where Does It Come From?

The majority of water supplied by the JCWSA is purchased from the Bear Creek Reservoir and Water Treatment Plant. The 505-acre reservoir is located in extreme southwest Jackson County. This water is pumped into the adjacent water plant where the water is conditioned and filtered, after which it is chlorinated and pumped into JCWSA’s system ready for use.

The Bear Creek Reservoir and Treatment Plant is owned and operated by the Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority (UOBWA), an independent political subdivision of the State of Georgia. There are (4) counties that own a share of the reservoir and (3) counties that own a share of the treatment plant:

Reservoir Treatment Plant
Athens-Clarke Jackson
Jackson Barrow
Barrow Oconee

Jackson County’s share of the reservoir is 25%; its share of the treatment plant is 43.9%.

Questions on bylaws or specific policies and procedures of the UOBWA should be directed to the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Center in Athens at (706) 369-5650 or www.bearcreekwtp.com.

The JCWSA has the ability to, and does from time-to-time, purchase treated water from the City of Commerce at northeast Jackson County. This is done mainly in response to high demands on the system such as water main breaks or other unforeseen circumstances.

Once the treated water is in our system, it is distributed throughout most of unincorporated Jackson County. In specific areas it must be re-pumped at one of our several booster stations so that the water pressure can be maintained at the higher elevations within the county. Generally the JCWSA does not supply water to many cities in the county since these cities have their own water systems, they being Jefferson, Commerce, Braselton, Maysville and Nicholson. The JCWSA has the ability to provide these communities with water when the need arises

Frequently Asked Questions

Fire Hydrant ID's Assigned Numbering Ranges

In a coordinated effort to positivley identify fire hayrants, while collecting GPS data, the following range of numbers has been allocated for each area.

For the GIS database to work, all ID numbers must be unique. By assigning a range of numbers to specific areas, the ID’s will be unique to each. This allows individual groups to tag and record their data independently and, later, when data from all areas is combined into a single, “County Fire Hydrant Layer”, all ID’s will remain unique; we will have no duplicate ID’s in the layer.

An ID Number, selected from the assigned range of numbers for a particular area, will be physically placed on each fire hydrant and it’s XY coordinate recorded using a GPS data collector. At the same time, this ID Number will be recorded, and later displayed on maps along with each fire hydrant. When a fireman, maintainence worker, or other party takes a fire hydrant map to the field and locates a particular hydrant, the individual can be certain that the map and the field location are correctly matched by comparing the ID physically located on the hydrant and the ID labeled on the map.

City of Commerce 0 3999 3999
JCWSA* 4000 13999 9999
City of Jefferson 14000 17999 3999
City of Maysville 18000 21999 3999
City of Nicholson 22000 25999 3999
City of Hoschton 26000 29999 3999
City of Braselton 30000 33999 3999


Cross-Connection Control (Backflow) Information and Requirements

Under certain circumstances, as determined by JCWSA, the installation of a cross-connection control (backflow preventer) device is required.  This device is installed on the customer’s side of the service line.  This device protects the water supply provided by JCWSA from the possibility of contamination or pollution by isolating, within its customers internal distribution system, such contaminants or pollutants which could backflow or back-siphon into the public water system.  This policy was derived from and is enforced in accordance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act of 1986, and the statutes of the State of Georgia, Rules for Safe Drinking Water, 391-3-5.

Testing of the backflow prevention device is also required to verify that it is operating correctly.  This testing is to be performed only by certified testing providers.  Many plumbing contractors perform installation, testing and maintenance of backflow devices. JCWSA customers may use any person who is certified by Georgia Statewide Backflow Prevention Assembly Certification Program, as approved by the state.

You can identify and locate available testing providers by visiting www.gawp.org. In the upper left-hand corner of this linked page, click on “Directories” then click on “Backflow Certified Tester Search.”

Additional forms and information regarding JCWSA’a Cross-Connection Control Program can be found below.

Past Projects and Important Milestones
Year Event
  • House Bill No 1995, Act No 1367 passes the House and Senate on February 28th with a combined vote of 151 – 0.  The “Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority Act” is approved on March 28th.
  • Completed extensions of water lines in the community of Center
  • Began construction and installation of the Arcade water tank and water lines
  • Began construction and installation of the Talmo water tank and water lines
  • Completed construction of Arcade and Talmo water tanks and lines
  • Began constuction of water lines from the Bear Creek Water Treatment Plant to JCWSA lines for a new source of water.
  • Water sales exceed 200 million gallons.
  • Completed construction of water lines from the Bear Creek Water Treatment Plant.
  • The total number of customers exceeds 5,000.
  • Population of Jackson County grows to more than 50,000.
  • Completed acquisition and upgrades of the Middle Oconee Waste Water Treatment Plant.
  • The new Geographic Information System (GIS) Department is established and is charged with collecting, recording, and maintaining geographical and spatial data as it relates to water and sanitary sewer services.

Service system overview:

  • Sanitary sewer lines: 22 miles
  • Water Lines: 424 miles
  • Fire Hydrants: 2,694
  • Water Tanks: 8
  • Gallons of wastewater treated exceeds 40 million.

Service system overview:

  • Sanitary sewer lines: 54 miles
  • Water Lines: 415 miles
  • Fire Hydrants: 2,967
  • Water Tanks: 7

Service system overview:

  • Sanitary sewer lines: 54 miles
  • Water Lines: 402 miles
  • Fire Hydrants: 2,988
  • Water Tanks: 7

Service system overview:

  • Sanitary sewer lines: 54 miles
  • Water Lines: 406 miles
  • Fire Hydrants: 2,993
  • Water Tanks: 7
  • Completed acquisition of water lines and customer agreements in the Pleasant Acres community of Maysville.  Began project to upgrade infrastructure in this area.