You can water lawns and fill swimming pools, beginning April 1 — within strict limits

Wed, 02/06/2008 - 3:05pm
By: The Citizen

Hand-watering only allowed midnight-10 a.m. on odd-even schedule; ‘drought not over,’ governor says

Beginning April 1, local residents will be allowed to water their landscaping by hand for up to 25 minutes from midnight to 10 a.m. every other day on an odd-even schedule, according to Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office.

The limited hand-watering permission seems to continue to prohibit watering by sprinkler systems, whether timed or manually operated, and by unattended lawn sprinklers.

The idea seems to be — Do it by hand, or don’t do it.

In addition, the governor is lifting the ban on filling and topping off swimming pools for the spring and summer.

Residents will only be allowed to have one person using one garden hose at a time, and that hose must have a spray nozzle that shuts off when released, according to the new regulations.

Odd numbered addresses can water on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Even numbered addresses can water Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Other changes coming to Georgia’s complete outdoor watering ban include an allowance for new professionally-installed landscape to be watered up to three days a week from midnight to 10 a.m. on an odd-even schedule for up to 10 weeks.

To do this, landscaping firms must register with the state’s Outdoor Water Use Registration Progam either online or through the local county extension office.

“These steps will give consumers confidence to buy and plant new trees and shrubbery,” said Governor Perdue. “It will give retailers confidence to stock these items, and it will give producers confidence to grow them. This action will lend renewed strength to the landscaping industry in Georgia.”

Citing risks to public health and safety, Perdue also announced plans to modify state restrictions on the filling of swimming pools in drought-stricken north Georgia from April through September, but will still require that water conservation goals be met, according to the governor’s office.

“Citizens should not see this as a signal the drought is over,” said Perdue. “The drought remains persistent and water conservation is our top priority.”

The decision to change the state’s restrictions is based on water use data collected by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD). However, Perdue emphasized that local governments and water utilities still have the authority to impose restrictions more stringent than state requirements.

Local governments and water utilities in the 61-county Level Four Drought Response area will still be required to achieve the governor’s water use reduction goal of at least 10 percent.

Beginning April 1, the water savings will be calculated using last year’s April-September average monthly water use.

It’s estimated there are approximately 6,500 public pools and 92,000 private residential pools in the Level Four area. According to EPD, those pools will require 7 million gallons of water per day from April through September.

“We believe the swimming pool exemption will have only a modest impact on water supply, provided citizens can still meet the required water conservation goals,” said Perdue. “We will continue to closely monitor drought conditions and will re-evaluate the exemptions and make adjustments if needed throughout the spring and summer.”

Some potential impacts if outdoor pools were left empty include collecting stagnant water, cracking or collapsing of pools and posing a safety threat of falling into the empty pool.

Perdue on Wednesday also signed HR 1022, the Statewide Water Management Plan, that will guide Georgia in managing its water resources. The newly enacted plan will utilize the state’s water resources in a sustainable manner; will support the state’s economy, will protect public health and natural systems, and will enhance the quality of life for all citizens, according to a press release from the governor.

The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Lynn Smith (R-Newnan) in the House of Representatives and state Sen. Ross Tolleson (R-Perry) carried the resolution in the Senate.

Perdue also praised the work of the Georgia Agribusiness Council in helping craft the Statewide Water Management Plan, which received final passage in the state Senate Tuesday.

“Taking this action strikes a balance between sound management of our water resources and support of Georgia’s industried that depend on water use,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.

More information about the drought and water conservation can be found at and

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