A Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Water Conservation

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. 

Click here to read the Rules for Drought Management

EPD News

News Release: Georgia EPD Drops Level 1 Drought Response As Winter Rains Bring Relief To Lake Lanier and Metro Atlanta - March 8, 2018

All Georgians should follow the non-drought schedule for outdoor water use according to the Georgia Water Stewardship Act.  Click here for more information on the non-drought schedule

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.

Monthly Reporting Form

EPD requires public water systems that are currently at a drought response level 2 or above to complete and submit this form monthly:

Variances From State Outdoor Water Use Schedules

Public water systems may not impose restrictions on outdoor watering that are different from the state requirements unless they obtain a variance from the EPD.  Public water systems who want to impose outdoor water use restrictions more or less stringent than the state requirements may apply for a variance from the state’s current drought response using the documents below.  A water system must be able to demonstrate “good cause” and EPD is required to act upon that request within 5 business days.

Current Variances:

  • There are no current variances.

Variance Information:

Water Conservation Information

Please click on the links to learn more about drought and outdoor water use:

Water Stewardship Act

Drought Information from the National Weather Service

U.S. Drought Monitor

Non-Drought Schedule

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.