Unprecedented Total Outdoor Watering Ban for Northern Georgia

Georgia officials announced a total outdoor watering ban for much of the northern half of Georgia Friday afternoon. This level of drought (Level IV) is the strictest restrictions that Georgia has under the state’s drought contingency plan. Before this announcement, the state was under Level II restrictions, which allowed outdoor watering three days a week (See Previous Post).

The drought declaration was made following a meeting yesterday of the State Drought Response Committee which is made up of representatives from several state, federal and local agencies, as well as universities and non-government organizations. However, here is the fineprint.

This rule shall not apply to the following outdoor water uses:

  • Capture and re-use of cooling system condensate or storm water in compliance with applicable local ordinances
  • Re-use of gray water in compliance with applicable local ordinances

The following established landscape water uses are exempt from the outdoor water use schedules of this rule.

  • Use of reclaimed wastewater by a designated user from a system permitted by EPD to provide reclaimed wastewater.
  • Irrigation of personal food gardens.
  • Newly (in place less than thirty days) installed landscapes are subject to the following:
  • Irrigation of newly installed landscapes is allowed any day of the week, butonly during allowed hours for the drought response level in effect, for a period of 30 days following installation. No watering is allowed during Drought Response Level Four.
  • For new landscapes installed by certified or licensed professionals, commercial exemptions apply.

The following golf course outdoor water uses are exempt from the outdoor water use schedules of this rule.

  • Use of reclaimed wastewater by a designated user from a system permittedby EPD to provide reclaimed wastewater.
  • Irrigation of fairways during times of non-drought and Declared Drought Response Level One.
  • Irrigation of tees during times of non-drought and Declared Drought Response Levels One, Two and Three.
  • Irrigation of greens.

The following commercial outdoor water uses are exempt from the outdoor water use schedules of this rule.

  • Professionally certified or licensed landscapers, golf course contractors, and sports turf landscapers: during installation and 30 days following installation only. Professional landscapers must be certified or licensed for commercial exemptions to apply.
  • Irrigation contractors: during installation and as needed for proper maintenance and adjustments only.
  • Sod producers.
  • Ornamental growers.
  • Fruit and vegetable growers.
  • Retail garden centers.
  • Hydro-seeding.
  • Power-washing.
  • Construction sites.
  • Producers of food and fiber.
  • Car washes.
  • Other activities essential to daily business.
  • Watering-in of pesticides and herbicides on turf.

But some of those exemptions may not last. According to the Associated Press, Georgia officials said that if things don’t get better in the next few months, the exemptions may have to be reviewed.

UPDATE RELATED POSTS
12.25.07 Drought to Be Worse Next Year
12.03.07 53 Second Drought Cheatsheet
11.12.07 Top 5 Atlanta Adventures in Saving Water