The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) is lifting the Level 1 Drought Response in 12 north Georgia counties, which means the entire state is only under a non-drought outdoor water use schedule.
“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.”
Those counties moving from a Level 1 Drought Response to a non-drought outdoor water use schedule are Cobb, Coweta, Dekalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Lumpkin, Paulding and White counties. 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.
Lake Lanier is a federal reservoir and as such, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages its water levels, as well as the other reservoirs in the Chattahoochee River Basin south of Atlanta.
“The Corps has announced it will conduct navigation water releases from Lake Seminole in southwest Georgia to support river traffic,” said Director Dunn. “Those releases are not currently affecting the water level in Lake Lanier because drought conditions have abated and there is sufficient streamflow into Lanier. EPD will continue to closely monitor conditions.”
While drought response has ended, all Georgians must still follow the non-drought outdoor water use schedule required 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. This is done to limit evaporation during the warmest part of the day. Many types of outdoor water use are allowed under the law. More information on the non-drought schedule is at https://epd.georgia.gov/non-drought-outdoor-water-use-schedule.