On September 9, 2016, a drought level 1 response was issued by GEPD for 53 counties in northwest and central Georgia. Georgia’s drought management plan, as outlined by the Georgia Water Stewardship Act of 2010, establishes a three-tiered approach to water resource conservation and monitoring. The first tier of the system is called “Drought Level 1” and initiates a conservation and public awareness campaign by local water utilities in affected counties. Look for forthcoming information regarding the drought level 1 response from local water authorities in these counties to help citizens better understand drought, its impact on water supplies and the need for indoor and outdoor water conservation.
Outdoor watering: Is it okay to plant trees and irrigate turfgrass? Yes, normal outdoor watering is allowed between the hours of 4pm and 10am and new landscapes can be watered any day, any time for 30 days in accordance with the Georgia Water Stewardship Act. However, proper plant care and responsible watering practices should always be followed.
Contact your local University of Georgia Extension Agent for scientific publications, bulletins, and fact sheets regarding plant care and irrigation practices. Key practices include mulching, proper plant selection, raising mower heights, and proper irrigation. In addition, the Georgia Urban Ag Council and the Georgia Green Industry Association launched a website called Georgiawatersmart.com outlining best management practices for indoor and outdoor water conservation.
According to the 2012 Annual Report, the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District estimates that the 15 County Metro Atlanta area reduced per capita water consumption by as much as 20% between 2000 to 2010 through local water stewardship and conservation efforts. Spread the word about water conservation and drought awareness and stay informed on the latest practices for managing drought stressed landscapes. For more information about the level 1, 2, and 3 drought responses, visit the Water Conservation page of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division website.