Will Fayette agree to eased watering rules?

Tue, 02/12/2008 - 5:29pm
By: John Munford

Fayette County’s Water Committee is expected to discuss this morning whether the county should allow residents to fill their swimming pools and water their outdoor plants starting in April.

Last week Gov. Sonny Perdue announced relaxed state rules under which residents will be allowed to fill their pools and water their outdoor plants in April despite the current total outdoor watering ban and the drought, which is forecasted to continue through the traditionally rainy spring months.

But the final decision is ultimately left up to each individual water system, according to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. Water systems still must meet the 10 percent water reduction figure ordered by the governor, meaning they must cut water usage 10 percent each month when compared to figures from the same month last year.

Fayette County interim Administrator Jack Krakeel said Tuesday that he expects the Water Committee to prepare a recommendation on the matter. Ultimately it will likely be a decision left up to the Fayette County Board of Commissioners.

Krakeel noted that the Lake Kedron water reservoir has increased in size recently and Lake Horton has also, to a lesser degree. Once the rainy season starts, the county will be able to withdraw water from the Flint River to replenish Horton, Krakeel added.

Perdue’s office hailed the recent decision on the outdoor plants in particular because it allows citizens to have confidence plants they buy will have a chance to survive. Such action supports the state’s landscape industry, Perdue said in a news release.

Allowing outdoor pools to be filled will head off a potential public health matter, as stagnant pools could become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and a potential for increased transmission of the West Nile Virus, state officials said. There are also potential structural problems created by leaving pools empty, officials said.

Though the watering of landscapes, and not lawns, will be allowed, it will be restricted, with odd-even watering dates and also just between the hours of 10 a.m. to midnight. Also all such “hand watering” must be done with one hose by one person, and the water must flow from a hose controlled by a hand nozzle that can completely shut off the flow of water, according to the new regulations.

The outdoor watering ban would still forbid individual car washing and pressure washing of homes, though cars may be washed at commercial car washes and businesses are still allowed to pressure-wash homes.

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