Georgia EPD Declares Level 1 Drought Response for 103 counties which includes Cherokee County on October 18th, 2019.
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 will be 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. “It also gives public water systems an opportunity to educate their customers on the importance of water conservation.”
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 is primarily agricultural, but it can also affect water supply,” said state climatologist Bill Murphey. “It came on quickly due to the intense daytime heating, lack of rainfall and sudden decrease in soil moisture we experienced in September.”
Cherokee County is currently in Level 1 Drought Response, CCWSA customers are required to abide by the Georgia state law O.C.G.A 12-5-7 which allows outdoor watering for the purposes of planting, growing, managing, or maintaining ground cover, trees, shrubs, or other plants only between the hours of 4 P.M. and 10:00 A.M.; provided, however, that this limitation shall not create any limitation upon the following outdoor activities:
(A) Commercial raising, harvesting or storing of crops; feeding, breeding, or managing livestock or poultry; the commercial production or storing of feed for use in the production of livestock, including, but not limited to, cattle, calves, swine, hogs, goats, sheep, and rabbits, or for use in the production of poultry, including, but not limited to, chickens, hens, ratites, and turkeys; producing plants, trees, fowl, or animals; or for commercial production of aquacultural, horticultural, dairy, livestock, poultry, eggs, and apiarian or as otherwise defined in O.C.G.A. 1-3-3;
(B) Capture and reuse of cooling system condensate or storm water in compliance with applicable local ordinances and state guidelines;
(C) Reuse of gray water in compliance with O.C.G.A. 31-3-5.2 and applicable local board of health regulations;
(D) Use of reclaimed wastewater by a designated user from a system permitted by the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to provide reclaimed wastewater;
(E) Watering personal food gardens;
(F) Irrigation of new and replanted plant, seed, or turf in landscapes, golf courses, or sports turf fields during installation and for a period of 30 days immediately following the date of installation;
(G) Drip irrigation or irrigation using soaker hoses;
(H) Handwatering with a hose with automatic cutoff or handheld container;
(I) 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;
(J) Watering horticultural crops held for sale, resale, or installation;
(K) Watering athletic fields, golf courses, or public turf grass recreational areas;
(L) Installation, maintenance, or calibration of irrigation systems; or