Georgia EPD Declares Level 1 Drought Response, Calls for Water Conservation
Worsening drought conditions throughout most of the state have prompted a Level 1 Drought Response declaration from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD). This means public water utilities in 103 counties, which includes Lowndes County and the City of Valdosta are required to begin a public information campaign to help citizens better understand drought, its impact on water supplies and the need for water conservation.
According to the federal government’s U.S. Drought Monitor, https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?GA the drought has affected the entire state with conditions ranging from abnormally dry to extreme drought. As a result, most of the counties in Georgia must follow the Level 1 Drought Response requirements.
“This serves as a reminder for all Georgians to use water wisely,” said EPD Director Richard Dunn.
Some things residents can do to be good stewards for our water resources include:
- Regularly check for, and repair, leaks inside and outside your home;
- Turn off the tap when shaving, brushing teeth, and face washing;
- Only water your landscape when necessary. Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered, and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
To determine the appropriate level of drought response, EPD considers several factors including precipitation, stream flows, groundwater, reservoir levels, short-term climate predictions and soil moisture. EPD monitors and produces publicly available reports on these conditions on a monthly basis.
“The current flash drought we are in came on quickly due to the intense daytime heating, lack of rainfall and sudden decrease in soil moisture we experienced in September,” said state climatologist Bill Murphey.
The outdoor water use schedule required under the Water Stewardship Act of 2010 remains in place. It limits outdoor water use year-round to the hours between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. There are several exceptions to this limitation listed at https://epd.georgia.gov/watershed-protection-branch/water-conservation.
For example, the following activities may be done at any time of day under a Level 1 Drought Response:
- Irrigation of new and replanted plant, seed, or turf may be done at any time of day for 30 days after installation;
- Drip irrigation or irrigation using soaker hoses may be done at any time of day;
- Use of water withdrawn from private water wells or surface water by an owner or operator of property if such well or surface water is on said property;
- Irrigation of athletic fields, golf courses, or public turf grass recreational areas;
- Irrigation of horticultural crops held for sale, resale, or installation.
EPD maintains a web page to keep the public informed regarding drought indicators, current variances, and EPD actions regarding drought: https://epd.georgia.gov/about-us/watershed-protection-branch/drought-management. Water conservation information is available at https://epd.georgia.gov/watershed-protection-branch/water-conservation.
If you have any further questions, please contact Assistant Utilities Director David Frost at (229) 259-3592 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.