Q&A on the News

Q: We are on record as having the hottest year to date. In addition, we are in a drought. Why haven’t water restrictions been enacted? Even though our main water source (Lake Lanier) is over 90 percent full, shouldn’t we be saving now vs. later?

—Mike Mauk, Lawrenceville

A: Georgia is under a non-drought outdoor water use schedule, which prohibits residential outdoor watering between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The state’s Environmental Protection Division is “closely monitoring drought conditions statewide,” a spokesman told Q&A on the News in an email last week.

Most of Georgia north of the fall line is in “severe drought,” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor in this month’s Drought Indicators Report at epd.georgia.gov.

“Rules and Regulations of the State of Georgia,” posted on the Secretary of State’s website at rules.sos.ga.gov, dictate three response levels for drought.

  • Level 1: Educate the public through "newspaper advertisements, bill inserts, website homepage, social media and notices in public libraries."
  • Level 2: Puts outdoor watering on an odd-even schedule and prohibits water use for outdoor "fountains, reflecting pools and waterfalls," and for washing "cars, boats, trailers, motorbikes, airplanes or golf carts." Pressure washing also isn't allowed.
  • Level 3: Outdoor irrigation is prohibited. Hours for watering "personal food gardens" are limited to before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., unless done by drip irrigation or soaker hoses. Athletic field, recreation areas and golf course irrigation also is limited to those hours.

“While it is dry in most parts of the state, public water utilities are not reporting major issues with water supply at this time,” the spokesman wrote.

Andy Johnston with Fast Copy News Service wrote this column. Do you have a question? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).