On November 17, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) elevated the Drought Response Level for Athens-Clarke County and 51 other counties to Level 2. Athens-Clarke County Mayor Nancy Denson signed an order on November 21 that implements the Level 2 Drought Response, which restricts local outdoor water use to two days a week. The new restrictions are effective Monday, November 21.
Even-numbered addresses (ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, 8) may water on Saturdays and Wednesdays; odd-numbered addresses (ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, 9) may water on Sundays and Thursdays. In order to reduce water wasted to evaporation, outdoor landscape sprinkling and irrigation is never allowed between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Irrigation of personal food gardens, drip irrigation, and hand watering are exempt from the rule and can occur at any time on any day.
In additional to outdoor watering restrictions, the Level 2 response prohibits:
- washing hard surfaces such as streets and sidewalks;
- water for ornamental purposes, such as fountains;
- the use of fire hydrants, except for firefighting and public safety;
- non-commercial washing of vehicles;
- non-commercial pressure washing; and
- fundraising car washes.
In accordance with the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government's Drought/Water Shortage Management Plan, any changes in water restrictions are required to be recommended in writing by the Director of Public Utilities and the Athens-Clarke County Manager, approved or modified by the Mayor, and ratified or modified by the Commission at its next business meeting or at a Special Called Meeting within three weeks of the effective date of each change.
Mayor Denson approved the Level 2 watering restrictions on November 21 and the Commission is expected to ratify them at the December 6, 2016 meeting of the Mayor and Commission.
The modifications to outdoor water use are subject to change based on available water supply and reduction mandates in monthly usage set forth by the Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. These restrictions apply to all residential, commercial, governmental, and institutional customers of the Athens-Clarke County public water supply system. Private water supplies such as wells are exempt from the outdoor water use restrictions, but conservation is encouraged for those who use these as well as groundwater supplies have also been impacted by the drought.
Residents are reminded to Think at the Sink about all water use and visit www.thinkatthesink.com for water conservation information.
For additional information, call the Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department's Water Conservation Office at 706-613-3729, visit the Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department at 124 E. Hancock Ave., or visit www.athensclarkecounty.com/publicutilities for additional information.