PRESS RELEASE… Georgia EPD Elevates Drought Response Levels, Further Restricts Outdoor Water Use

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PRESS RELEASE… Georgia EPD Elevates Drought Response Levels, Further Restricts Outdoor Water Use 2016-12-29T19:34:54+00:00

PRESS RELEASE… Georgia EPD Elevates Drought Response Levels, Further Restricts Outdoor Water Use

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For Immediate Release                                                                                      November 17, 2016

Georgia EPD Elevates Drought Response Levels, Further Restricts Outdoor Water Use

Faced with worsening drought conditions in about three-fourths of the state, along with water supply concerns in some areas, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has declared it will raise the state’s drought response to Level 2 in 52 counties and impose a Level 1 Drought Response in an additional 58 counties.

“Today’s declaration is driven by an extended period of little or no rain and increasing dryness in the impacted areas,” said EPD Director Richard Dunn. “What’s more, there is little hope for relief as weather forecasters expect an unusually warm, dry winter across most of the state.”

This week marks the 24th week of continuous severe drought in northwest Georgia, the 22nd week for the Atlanta metro area, the 21st week in northeastern parts of the state and the 15th week in central Georgia. In addition, there is a decline in soil moisture and some streams are flowing at or below record lows set during droughts in 2007 and 2011.

During a Level 2 Drought Response, Effective Immediately, outdoor landscape watering is only allowed 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 between 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. Odd-numbered addresses may water Thursday and Sunday between 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m.

Prohibited outdoor water uses include:

  • Washing hard surfaces such as streets and sidewalks.
  • Water for ornamental purposes, such as fountains, reflecting pools and waterfalls.
  • The use of fire hydrants, except for firefighting, public health, safety and flushing.
  • Washing vehicles, such as cars, boats, trailers, motorbikes, airplanes or golf carts.
  • Non-commercial washing or pressure washing of buildings or structures except for immediate fire protection.
  • Charity or non-commercial fund-raiser car washes.

Those counties assigned a Level 2 Drought Response are: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Athens-Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dade, Dawson, Dekalb, Douglas, Fannin, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gilmer, Gordon, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Harris, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Lamar, Lumpkin, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Murray, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Union, Upson, Walker, Walton, White and Whitfield.

Haralson County and the cities of Griffin, Tallapoosa, Waco and Buchanan have reported water supply issues and have been granted EPD variances to impose water use restrictions greater than state requirements.

A Level 1 Drought Response requires that public water systems implement a public information campaign that includes, at a minimum, public notice regarding drought conditions and drought-specific public service messages in one or more of the following ways: newspaper advertisements, bill inserts, website homepage, social media, and notices in public libraries.

Those counties assigned a Level 1 Drought Response are: 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.

The following activities are allowed under both Level 1 and Level 2 Drought Responses:

  • 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, O.C.G.A. 31-3-5.2 and applicable local board of health regulations adopted pursuant thereto; or
  • Use of reclaimed wastewater 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;
  • Hand watering 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
  • Hydro-seeding.

The City of Carrollton will implement additional drought response strategies in an effort to lower water usage and extend our water supply. These actions are:

  • Public information campaign that goes significantly beyond the minimum notice and public service messages associated with Drought Response Level 1.
  • Glasses of water provided to restaurant customers only upon request.
  • Technical assistance outreach program to target high users to identify and /or recommend opportunities to reduce water usage.
  • Reduce system pressure unless such reduction would create unsafe water supply conditions.
  • Pool cover requirements.
  • Impose monetary penalties or terminate water services to customers to reduce outdoor water waste due to excessive application, outdoor leaks, improper irrigation or other similar reasons.

 Level 2 Drought Response limitations and restrictions will remain in effect until water supply and drought conditions change. For further information, please contact the City of Carrollton at 770-830-2000.