Henry County Under Level 1 Drought Declaration
With drought conditions worsening throughout metro Atlanta and the state this fall, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division is calling for a Level 1 Drought Response from 103 counties, including Henry.
As a result, the Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) is educating its customers about the severity of the drought and its effect on water resources, while encouraging them to practice water conservation and wise water use.
The current drought conditions across Georgia range from abnormally dry to extreme drought, with the greatest impact on the state’s crops and agricultural industry. Although, some water supplies also are impacted by the prolonged drought, according to state climatologists.
However, HCWA customers benefit from the utility’s independent water supply – that is, a network of five reservoirs totaling more than 18 billion gallons of raw water supply. The HCWA also does not draw its water supply from a water body that has multiple jurisdictions dependent upon it, such as the Chattahoochee River or Lake Lanier. Still, HCWA customers are encouraged to conserve water and use it wisely, says Lindy Farmer, HCWA General Manager.
“We certainly are going to stay in compliance with the state’s request to educate our customers on the effects of prolonged drought and its impact on water supply,” says Farmer, who notes the Authority has ongoing public education efforts with water conservation among its objectives. “But through proper long-range planning, including significant investments in our own water resources, we have worked hard to be as prepared as possible for continued drought so it will have minimal effects on our customers.”
To determine the appropriate level of drought response for communities all across the state, Georgia EPD considers several factors, including precipitation, stream flows, groundwater, reservoir levels, short-term climate predictions, and soil moisture. HCWA reservoirs are not immune to the drought, however, as the Authority’s five drinking water reservoirs are below full pool, although recent rains have helped, says Pat Hembree, HCWA Division Manager of Water Production, Water Reclamation, and Maintenance.
In addition to encouraging water conservation and wise water use among its customers, HCWA officials note that the current outdoor water use schedule according to the state’s Water Stewardship Act of 2010 remains in place. It limits outdoor water use year-round to the hours between 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. There are exemptions to this limitation listed online at https://epd.georgia.gov/watershed-protection-branch/water-conservation.
For additional means of wise water use, citizens can check out the water conservation public information on the HCWA website at: https://www.hcwa.com/community-education/residential-water-conservation.cms.
Chris Wood, Ph.D.
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