A Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Outdoor Water Use Information

Please note: On June 24, 2015, the DNR Board adopted Drought Management Rules that replaced former rule provisions relating to outdoor water use as well as the 2003 Drought Management Plan.  The Drought Management Rules, Chapter 391-3-30, require specific drought response strategies during specified levels of declared drought that may limit or restrict some of the outdoor water uses discussed below.  The Drought Management Rules are available here.

Drought Indicators Reports

Pursuant to the Rules for Drought Management, Section 391-3-30-.04, Drought Indicators and Triggers, the Director of EPD monitors climatic indicators and water supply conditions to assess drought occurrence and severity, and its impact upon the ability of public water systems to provide adequate supplies of water.  The Rules require EPD to report on current climatic indicators at least semi-annually, and as frequently as monthly when any part of the state has experienced at least two consecutive months of severe drought.  The Reports are in Microsoft Power Point and are best viewed in slideshow mode.

Drought Indicators Report August 2016

Drought Indicators Report July 2016

Drought Indicators Report February 2016

Water Conservation Information

Georgia Water Stewardship Act

The Georgia Water Stewardship Act went into effect statewide on June 2, 2010.  It allows daily outdoor watering for purposes of planting, growing, managing, or maintaining ground cover, trees, shrubs, or other plants only between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. by anyone whose water is supplied by a water system permitted by the Environmental Protection Division. 

The following outdoor water uses also are allowed daily at any time of the day by anyone:

  • Commercial agricultural operations as defined in Code Section 1-3-3;

  • Capture and reuse of cooling system condensate or storm water in compliance with applicable local ordinances and state guidelines;

  • Reuse of gray water in compliance with Code Section 31-3-5.2 and applicable local board of health regulations adopted pursuant thereto;

  • Use of reclaimed waste water by a designated user from a system permitted by the Environmental Protection Division of the department to provide reclaimed waste water;

  • Irrigation of personal food gardens;

  • Irrigation of new and replanted plant, seed, or turf in landscapes, golf courses, or sports turf fields during installation and for a period of 30 days immediately following the date of installation;

  • Drip irrigation or irrigation using soaker hoses;

  • Handwatering with a hose with automatic cutoff or handheld container;

  • Use of water withdrawn from private water wells or surface water by an owner or operator of property if such well or surface water is on said property;

  • Irrigation of horticultural crops held for sale, resale, or installation;

  • Irrigation of athletic fields, golf courses, or public turf grass recreational areas;

  • Installation, maintenance, or calibration of irrigation systems; or

  • Hydroseeding.


Variances From State Outdoor Water Use Schedules

Georgia Law (Section 12-5-7) states that local governments may, upon application to and approval by the director of the Georgia EPD, impose more stringent restrictions on outdoor water use during periods of drought and periods of non-drought.  The local authority must be able to demonstrate “good cause” and must follow a process approved by EPD to be considered for approval.

There are no current/active variances at this time.

Please click on the links to learn more about outdoor water use.

Water Stewardship Act

Monthly Water Use Information - November 2007-November 2009

Drought Information from the National Weather Service