“The Georgia drought is over.” Whatever. Here’s an update on DeKalb County’s watering restrictions

Go figure that I, one of the ranks of people that showers with two buckets in the tub to collect water, would live across the street from the guy who waters his lawn obsessively. With complete disregard for any sort of drought (or resulting restrictions). He used to water it by hand until an “end” was hailed to the drought this spring, at which time, he tore up his half-acre lot, graded, reseeded, and set up the sprinkler and irrigation system to water at various times throughout the day (usually during the heat of the day – the worst time to water). And, of course, his driveway and street gutters remain thoroughly soaked, too.

Now, he can have his lawn and eat it, too. Apparently, the so-called end to the drought that was declared several weeks ago was theoretical, because the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the governor officially lifted water restrictions yesterday and sent out a press release to that effect (see below). Now, we’re back to the old way of watering, which is as follows:

  • Even numbered & unnumbered addresses can water Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
  • Odd numbered addresses can water Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays
  • You can water at any time of day, but are discouraged to do so between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. since it is less effective

I’m no scientist, but if these previous attempts at conservation still didn’t stave off a drought, what makes us think that falling back on old habits is acceptable now? We’re just going to face this situation again. And for that reason, I hope that people continue to maintain an attitude of conservation and pursue alternate means of collecting water for our yards, such as rain water, gray water, air conditioner run-off, dehumidifier water, etc. If you’re reading this post, chances are you are interested in conserving water yourself, so please keep up the good work!

Did you know that out west, it’s illegal for residents in certain areas to collect their rainwater? Supposedly, all forms of precipitation are property of the government (reminds me a bit of being in the Army where nothing is actually yours, but instead all government-owned).

I’ve already asked across-the-street neighbor where his rain barrel is, since he must have one with all of the illegal watering he’d been doing, and he reassured me that I didn’t have anything to worry about, that he doesn’t water that much, so his water bills aren’t all that high. Last I checked, the issue wasn’t about how much we can each afford to pay for water… So, before I go over there and talk to him again about considering a rain water collection system for his home, I’m to do a little more research on whole house rain water collection techniques. So stay tuned for part II of my water conservation diatribe! In the meantime…

You can read the entirety of Governor Perdue’s press release below:

ATLANTA – Governor Perdue announced today that due to significant rainfall and improved water supplies the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has issued a non-drought schedule for outdoor water use for the first time since June 2006.

“Georgians have seen the most severe drought on record, and have proven their ability to conserve and manage our state’s most precious resource,” said Governor Perdue “We have become more educated about water conservation, and have taken significant steps towards ensuring a long term solution. I believe Georgians will continue to use our water resources wisely under this new outdoor watering schedule.”

Under a non-drought schedule, outdoor water use is allowed three days a week on assigned days using odd and even-numbered addresses. Odd-numbered addresses can water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Even-numbered and unnumbered addresses are allowed to water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Water use may occur at any time of the day on the assigned days, however landscape watering is discouraged between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m because of its limited effectiveness.

The change in the state’s drought response was announced at a meeting of the State Drought Response Committee. It is the first change since May 2008 when 55 north Georgia counties were under a level four drought response, which prohibits most types of outdoor water use. Middle Georgia counties were assigned a level two response, which limits water use to three days a week midnight to 10 a.m. South Georgia counties, including the coastal region, followed a level one drought response schedule, which allows watering three days a week midnight to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to midnight.

Overall, north Georgians averaged monthly water savings of about 15 percent since November 2007. These reductions come from citizens and Georgia businesses implementing a variety of conservation measures, including waterSmart landscape principles and selecting more efficient indoor fixtures and devices. Georgia’s collective vision for water efficiency is presented in the recently released Water Conservation Implementation Plan (WCIP). Through the goals and practices identified in that plan we can expect to continue to progress toward greater long-term water efficiency. To get more information on waterSmart landscape principles and the Georgia WCIP, visit www.conservewatergeorgia.net.

“We have just lived through one of the worst droughts in Georgia history, and citizens should be applauded for the great job they have done conserving water,” said Carol A. Couch, EPD Director. “The decision to ease outdoor watering restrictions should not be seen as a license to waste water, but as a vote of confidence in Georgians ability to conserve and use water efficiently.”

Large water systems and local governments producing more than 100,000 gallons of water per day in the former level four drought response area must continue to file monthly water use reports. Should water supplies drop and drought conditions reappear, steps will be taken quickly to toughen water use schedules again.

Today, Governor Perdue also announced the use of a new drip irrigation system at the Governor’s Mansion. The Georgia Green Industry Association (GGIA) and its members partnered with the Governor and mansion staff to landscape the front portion of the Governor’s Mansion. During discussions regarding the efficiencies of drip irrigation, the idea arose to demonstrate the efficient irrigation and best management practices in the landscape. Governor Perdue has been a staunch supporter of the green industry during Georgia’s historic drought and has always been a proponent of water conservation. The mansion grounds proved the perfect stage to demonstrate that not only was it okay to plant again in Georgia but that sustainable landscape projects don’t have to use a lot of water.

“The Governor’s Mansion is now a showplace for water conservation,” said Governor Perdue. “The garden will be a lasting testament to the environmental benefits and beauty that a properly designed and efficient landscape can bring to all Georgians.”

The green industry in Georgia is a leading segment of agriculture. Prior to the drought, economic impact of the industry was estimated to be in excess of $8 billion annually with over 75,000 Georgians employed by nursery growers, landscape firms, garden centers, greenhouse operators, irrigation contractors and allied suppliers. GGIA volunteered materials, labor and their expertise to make the mansion project a full-blown success. Special attention was given to water efficiency and sustainability. Every aspect of the project served as a model for practices that would not only create a beautiful landscape to showcase Georgia grown products, but would do so while using minimal water resources.

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Comments
3 Responses to ““The Georgia drought is over.” Whatever. Here’s an update on DeKalb County’s watering restrictions”
  1. It’s a shame that people don’t see what’s going on. Imagine actually putting the thought together of “this guy is worried about my water bill” and not thinking about his impact…nice blog, enjoy reading it.

    Carson Matthews
    http://www.GreentotheScene.com

  2. anonymous says:

    Here’s a greener road to travel
    A typical car wash lasting 10 minutes uses approximately 100 gallons of water. What if we could conserve hundreds of gallons of water in one week. Go to a local car wash that uses recycled water or use an eco-friendly waterless car wash.
    It takes only 15 minutes, is effective and uses no water

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  1. […] you can love something too much. My across-the-street neighbor, who you may recall from this previous post, enacts such loving care on his lawn that he overwaters it, kills it, and has to tear it all up […]



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