Posted on: Nov 17, 2016
Contact: Paul Donsky
(ATLANTA – Nov 17, 2016)
The Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District (Metro Water District) is urging residents and businesses to conserve water and follow the outdoor watering restrictions required under the state’s “Level 2” drought response, which was declared today by the Director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
Under the Level 2 drought response, outdoor watering of lawns, gardens and is limited to a maximum of twice a week (even addresses and sites with no numbered address may water Wednesdays and Saturdays before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., while those in odd-numbered addresses may water on Thursdays and Sundays before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.). In winter months, many outdoor plants go dormant and all need less water, so residents should water only when needed, such as if plants are in distress (curling, wilting or graying foliage).
The Level 2 drought response also prohibits a number of outdoor watering activities, such as washing sidewalks and driveways and washing cars at home, and requires utilities to implement drought response measures.
The declaration comes amid a severe drought that has persisted into the fall and after an October that saw just 0.16 inches of rainfall in metro Atlanta. From March through October, about 20 inches of rain fell in the Atlanta region, nearly 13 inches below normal. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting that dry, warm weather will persist through the winter.
The Level 2 drought response covers 52 counties in North and Middle Georgia, including all 15 counties and 93 cities in the Metro Water District.
“At this stage, we should assume that this will be a multi-year drought,” said Boyd Austin, Chair of the Metro Water District. “We must be responsible stewards of our water resources. That means watering only when it’s necessary, not twice a week just because that’s allowed. I’m confident that our region, its local governments and its residents will take the necessary steps during this drought to conserve water.”
The Level 2 drought response also prohibits a number of outdoor watering activities, including:
- Washing streets, sidewalks and driveways
- Decorative uses, such as fountains and waterfalls
- Washing vehicles, such as cars and boats, at home.
However, the following water uses are allowed any time, when needed:
- Irrigation of personal food gardens
- Irrigation of new and replanted seed, or turf, in landscapes for a period of 30 days following installation
- Watering with drip irrigation or soaker hose
- Hand watering, including watering cans and hoses with auto shut-off nozzles
- Use of water withdrawn from private water wells
The Metro Water District has prepared a drought fact sheet that provides more details on what the Level 2 drought response means to metro Atlanta residents. A full list of exceptions to the Level 2 outdoor watering restrictions can be found at epd.georgia.gov/water-conservation, which includes a copy of the state’s drought management rule.
The Metro Water District encourages everyone in metro Atlanta to make water conservation a priority.
We can all make a difference. Our individual actions can add up to big water savings collectively in the region. You can save water by:
- Check and repair leaks inside and outside the home.
- Shorten showers and turn off water when shaving or brushing teeth.
- Fill dishwashers and washing machines, making sure there is a full load every time.
- Replace older toilets and shower heads with high efficiency models. If your home was built before 1993, you may qualify for a toilet rebate.
- Choose efficient appliances. Look for EPA WaterSense and ENERGY STAR labeled products when shopping for new appliances and fixtures.
Find more conservation tips at My Drop Counts.
Find updated drought status and information about specific cities and counties at northgeorgiawater.org/current-water-stats/drought-status/.