Faced with a stubborn drought and the warmest April on record in Atlanta, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) is urging metro Atlantans to conserve water and follow the state’s outdoor water use schedules.
“With Lake Lanier showing only slight improvement after recent rainfall it’s more important than ever for citizens to be good stewards of our water supply,” said EPD Director Richard Dunn. “The lake remains eight feet below its full water level. Coupled with the fact that it is not unusual during a drought for Lanier to drop six feet or more over the summer, it is critical that metro Atlantans follow a Level 2 Drought Response, which allows reasonable outdoor water use while still saving water.”
During a Level 2 Drought Response, outdoor landscape watering is allowed up to two days a week, determined by odd and even-numbered addresses. Even-numbered addresses and properties without numbered addresses may water on Wednesday and Saturday before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. Odd-numbered addresses may water Thursday and Sunday before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.
The Level 2 Drought Response has been in place since November in the following 12 counties: Cobb, Coweta, Dekalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Lumpkin, Paulding and White counties. These are counties that depend on Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River for water supply.
“Lake Lanier is a large reservoir fed by relatively small streams,” added EPD Director Dunn. “Recent rains have provided short-term relief for your landscape, but not enough rainfall to provide significant improvement to Lake Lanier.”
Prohibited outdoor water uses under a Level 2 Drought Response include:
- Washing hard surfaces such as streets and sidewalks.
- Water for ornamental purposes, such as fountains.
- The use of fire hydrants, except for firefighting and public safety.
- Non-commercial washing of vehicles.
- Non-commercial pressure washing.
- Fundraising car washes.
The following activities are allowed under a Level 2 Drought Response:
- Irrigation of new and replanted plant, seed, or turf may be done at any time of day for 30 days after installation.
- Irrigation of personal food gardens may be done at any time of day.
- Drip irrigation or irrigation using soaker hoses may be done at any time of day and hand-watering with a hose with automatic cutoff or handheld container may be done at any time of day.
- General landscape watering may be done after 4 p.m. and before 10 a.m. on the designated days.
EPD closely monitors a number of drought indicators including stream flows, reservoir levels, groundwater, short-term climate predictions and water supply conditions. Should conditions deteriorate further, a Level 3 Drought Response would have to be considered. A Level 3 Drought Response prohibits most types of outdoor water use, including general landscape watering.
More water conservation information is available at http://epd.georgia.gov/water-conservation.