MACON, Ga. — Macon-Bibb County voters heading to the polls this month will see two races for Macon Water Authority seats on the ballot.
Water is one of those things you don't really think about until you don't have it. The water authority is Macon-Bibb's agency that makes sure you never have to.
Whether you're washing your hands, grabbing a cold drink or even pouring your morning coffee, water is essential.
"Everybody uses a need for water," said Macon Water Authority Chairman Sam Hart.
At Fall Line Brewing, it takes the main stage.
"Beer is like 95% water," explained Lead Brewer Nick Landis as he filled a glass with water. "When you are looking at a poured glass of beer, you think about it as beer right? But really what it is, is about that much water."
Landis says the brewery uses a ton of water.
"When we are going through the course of a day of brewing, we are putting about 900 gallons of water into this tank," he said.
Who provides all that water? The Macon Water Authority.
"Almost everybody in this community got a relationship with us as it relates to just drinking water," Hart said. "And if you remember, we were given the title of best drinking water in America."
Hart says the authority provides clean drinking water to 155,000 people across Macon-Bibb. It's responsible for sewer and pipe maintenance too.
"That's a tremendous task ahead of us, but it's a tremendous opportunity too. To start trying to replace pipes that have been here for over 100 years," he said.
Hart is retiring, but he says it takes a special kind of leader to run the place.
"A person who has a servant leadership mentality, and a person who wants to see a better Macon and Bibb," Hart said.
Hart says the water authority also provides support to the industrial authority for economic development. He says the next water authority chair should have a vision for the community.
Head to our May Voting Guide to read profiles for Water Authority Chair candidates Gary Bechtel, Desmond Brown and Tom Ellington. You can also read profiles for Anissa Jones and Eleanor Welch, who are running for the District 1 seat.