Living in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, we sometimes take for granted that we also live near a major source of Georgia’s household water. The Soque River and its entire watershed in Habersham County is a key tributary to the Chattahoochee River which serves as the primary water source for literally millions of Georgians downstream.

Not only do we need to work at preserving this incredible natural resource that we get to enjoy every day and share with others, but we also have a responsibility to help identify acute and chronic problems with water quality such as failing septic drain fields, city sewer overflows, aging storm water systems, and persistent erosion of land masses. A key mission of the Soque River Watershed Association (SRWA) is to increase awareness of water quality conditions throughout our watershed to increase public knowledge and engagement in water quality monitoring and protection.

SRWA could use your help! The Neighborhood Water Watch (NWW) is a collaborative program between SRWA, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and YOU that empowers citizens to learn about and protect the health of streams in our own backyard.

Citizens can get directly involved in NWW by collecting water samples once a week at specific sampling locations throughout the county and then dropping them off at one of two locations in Clarkesville. The samples are then analyzed at a lab at North Georgia Technical College (NGTC) and the results are made public the next day. If specific samples test high for water quality issues like conductivity, turbidity or excessive bacteria, SRWA is then able to identify the source of the problem(s) and address them through the appropriate remediation methods.

 Becca Risser, SRWA Executive Director, talks about Water Quality Testing in Clarkesville.

If you are interested in becoming a sampler and/or supporting the program, call SRWA at 706-754-9382 or email them at