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Winter Rains Help Re-fill Lake Lanier

Lake Lanier, metro Atlanta’s largest water source, has re-filled following soaking winter rains. The lake reached its “full pool”— which in winter is 1,070 feet — on Feb. 15.

“This is great news for the Atlanta region, especially with warm weather right around the corner,” said Katherine Zitsch, manager of ARC’s Natural Resources Group and Director of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District. “Having a full lake is important to carry us through the typically drier summer months.”

The state Environmental Protection Division on March 8 lifted the Level I Drought Response that had been in place across much of metro Atlanta.

“As expected, winter rains have refilled Lake Lanier, which serves as an important water supply for much of metro Atlanta,” said EPD Director Richard Dunn.  “Drought-related restrictions were eased in other areas last fall, but the Level 1 Response was left in place to help the lake recover.”

Lake Lanier’s rebound follows a prolonged dry period that caused the reservoir to fall by about 10 feet during 2016. The lake recovered a bit during 2017 but remained 4 feet below full pool at year’s end as the drought lingered. The state EPD declared a drought response for much of the Atlanta region in September 2016, which included restrictions on outdoor watering.

Conservation and efficiency are still critical to protecting Metro Atlanta’s water supply. Georgia EPD and the Metro Water District encourage continued water conservation efforts.

“Metro Atlanta residents should be commended for doing their part to conserve water, such as limiting outdoor watering,” said Zitsch. “But we must continue to use water wisely. Droughts are common in this part of the country, and we don’t know when the next dry period will begin.”

Georgians are still required to follow watering restrictions as outlined in the Water Stewardship Act of 2010.  This law allows all types of outdoor water use, but landscape watering only before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. daily to limit evaporation during the warmest part of the day.

Visit My Drop Counts to learn more about how to conserve water and become more water efficient.

Water Conservation Tips

  • Check for and repair leaks inside and outside the home
  • Shorten showers and turn off water when shaving or brushing teeth
  • Fill dishwashers and washing machines. Make sure there is a full load every time
  • Replace older toilets with high-efficiency models. If your home was built before 1994, 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
  • Scrape dishes before washing them. Avoid using the garbage disposal. It wastes a lot of water and can contribute to pipe clogs.