Georgia is easing its outdoor water use restrictions in 55 counties, including those in metro Atlanta.
Those counties are no longer required to follow a schedule that previously allowed outdoor watering only two days a week, according to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
“Substantial rainfall over the past few months has led to significant improvement in stream flows and reservoir levels,” EPD Director Richard Dunn said.
The law still requires landscape watering only before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.
But the lifted restrictions come with a change in drought designations from Level 2 to Level 1 in counties including Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Lumpkin, Paulding and White.
EPD had already lifted Level 2 restrictions in the remainder of the state, including Bartow, Carroll, Cherokee, Clayton and Newton counties.
In more good news, water levels have increased at Lake Lanier, a main water supply to much of metro Atlanta.
“Due to effective river basin management and above-average rainfall, Lake Lanier water levels are up five feet since the start of the year,” Dunn said.
“It is typically dry in the fall, but we expect the lake to continue to refill during the winter,” Dunn said.
The state’s drought alerts:
Level 1: Requires public water systems to educate customers about conditions and encourages conservation.
Level 2: Limits outdoor watering to two days a week on an odd-even schedule. Even-numbered addresses may water Wednesdays and Saturdays (4 p.m. to 10 a.m.); odd-numbered addresses may water Thursdays and Sundays (4 p.m. to 10 a.m.). No water for outdoor fountains, car washes or power washing of homes.
Level 3: Prohibits all outdoor irrigation of landscapes. Food gardens may be watered between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. (Soaker hoses and drip irrigation may be used any time.) Hand watering allowed during designated hours. Golf course irrigation limited.
Source: Environmental Protection Division
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