A Level 1 Drought Response is currently in place in the following 58 Georgia counties: Baker, Baldwin, Bibb, Bleckley, Calhoun, Chattahoochee, Clay, Columbia, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Elbert, Franklin, Glascock, Greene, Hancock, Hart, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Jones, Laurens, Lee, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, Marion, McDuffie, Miller, Mitchell, Muscogee, Oglethorpe, Peach, Pulaski, Putnam, Quitman, Rabun, Randolph, Richmond, Schley, Seminole, Stephens, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taliaferro, Taylor, Terrell, Towns, Twiggs, Warren, Washington, Webster, Wilkes and Wilkinson.
A Level 1 Drought Response requires permitted public water systems to conduct a public information campaign to explain drought conditions and the need to conserve water. The campaign shall include one or more of the following: newspaper advertisements, bill inserts, website homepage, social media and notices in public libraries. It should target all commercial and residential water use, not just outdoor watering. It should emphasize what customers can do and how to be good stewards of our water resources.
Under a Level 1 Drought Response, the outdoor water use schedule required under the Water Stewardship Act of 2010 remains in place. This schedule allows outdoor water use year-round between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m.
In addition, the following outdoor water uses 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- Use of water withdrawn from private water wells or surface water by an owner or operator of property if such well or surface water is on said property;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