Henry County included in Georgia EPD Level 1 Drought Response Declaration
(McDonough, GA – Sept. 13, 2016) With Henry County included among the 53 Georgia Counties under newly declared drought conditions, the Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) is asking customers to practice wise water use by NOT watering outdoors between the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., in addition to following other water saving methods.
This past Friday, Sept. 9, the state declared a Level 1 Drought Response for virtually all of the counties within metro Atlanta and North Georgia. According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Environmental Protection Division (EPD), the 53 counties impacted by this Level 1 Drought Response declaration are experiencing severe to extreme drought conditions.
“North Georgia has had a hot, dry summer and the fall season is historically a dry time of the year,” says Bill Murphey, State Climatologist. “Current drought conditions are likely to continue through the fall season, although tropical activity and rain-producing systems can provide beneficial rainfall.”
As a public water utility operating under EPD permits and serving customers within the region receiving a Level 1 Drought Response, the HCWA is implementing a public information campaign to notify its customers of the current drought, its potential impact on water supplies, and the need for community-wide water conservation.
“A Level 1 Drought Response is a good opportunity to partner with our public water utilities to promote good stewardship and to remind Georgians of the importance of using water wisely,” says Richard Dunn, EPD Director.
The HCWA has updated its website and issued a public notice on the Level 1 Drought as critical parts of its public information campaign and drought management plan. Direct notices to customers via billing inserts and displays within the customer service department at HCWA headquarters are planned for the future, as needed, according to Authority officials.
“Our reservoirs remain in good condition, near full pool, and we are fortunate to have a raw water supply that is close to 18 billion gallons now, which protects us from having to implement even more stringent watering restrictions than what’s in place,” says Lindy Farmer, HCWA General Manager. “While we encourage wise water use and compliance with the current outdoor watering schedule by our customers, we invested in water supply resources and infrastructure years ago to be able to handle drought conditions such as those that we are experiencing presently. Through proper long-term planning, we are more prepared to manage drought today than we have been in the 55-year history of this Authority.”
In addition to informing the public of the declared drought conditions, the HCWA is enforcing the current outdoor water use schedule, which allows customers to water outdoors daily, except between the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., as required under the Georgia Water Stewardship Act of 2010. Watering during the mid-day is the least efficient time of the day to water outdoors because this hottest time of the day is also the time when water evaporates the greatest. There are exemptions to this outdoor watering schedule, however, such as unlimited watering being allowed for new plantings for up to 30 days. The outdoor water use rules and exemptions are outlined at http://epd.georgia.gov/water-conservation.
Chris Wood, Ph.D.