HCWA asking customers to use water wisely amid peak demands

With dry, hot weather expected to continue throughout the region for the next few months, the Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) is reminding customers to use water wisely and follow the current outdoor water use schedule, especially during periods of peak demand in the morning and afternoon.

To help the Authority manage water production and distribution for approximately 70,000 accounts during peak demands, HCWA customers should remember that while outdoor watering is permitted daily, it must be limited to after 4:00 p.m., overnight, and until 10:00 a.m.

The HCWA owns and operates two water treatment facilities – the Tussahaw and Towaliga Water Treatment Plants – with a combined production capacity of more than 40 million gallons per day (MGD). In addition, the Authority has five drinking water reservoirs with a combined storage capacity of more than 18 billion gallons. Still, water conservation and wise water use by customers are crucial, especially during the summer months, say HCWA officials.

“We’re in pretty good shape overall, with our reservoirs at full pool, providing plenty of raw water storage; and we continue to monitor our treatment plants and distribution system operations, making adjustments as necessary to ensure that we are capable of meeting these highest demands of the year," says Tony Carnell, HCWA General Manager. “However, customers can help us this summer by following the outdoor water use schedule and using water efficiently. Water is a precious natural resource we don’t need to take for granted.”

According to the state’s Outdoor Water Use Rules, the current declaration is categorized as “non-drought conditions” and allows for daily watering between 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 a.m. Should the region experience drought conditions, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) may declare a Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 drought response, which could require residents to limit outdoor watering to varying degrees, depending on the severity of a drought.

A Level 1 drought response would require public utilities such as the HCWA to increase their public communications to remind customers of water-saving methods, which the Authority already practices regularly and independent of drought conditions. A Level 2 drought response would limit outdoor watering to an every-other-day schedule according to odd-even home addresses, while a Level 3 drought response would restrict outdoor watering entirely.

HCWA officials say, at present, they do not anticipate having to increase outdoor watering restrictions more than the current state water use rules allow, although public utilities are empowered to do so, if necessary.  

Some additional tips and reminders to help consumers save water include:

* New homeowners remembering to check their irrigation system to make sure they are set properly and not leaking.

* Using more drought-resistant plants within landscapes, as well as mulch or straw around plants to retain more moisture, and a rain barrel to capture rainfall for watering gardens.

* Finding and fixing household leaks as they occur.

* Considering the installation of water-efficient appliances, especially low-flow toilets.

* Taking shorter showers instead of baths and turning off the water while brushing your teeth or lathering your hands when washing.

* Using the dishwasher and washing machine only when they are full.

* The HCWA has a tiered rate structure, which offers lower rates in conjunction with less consumption, as incentives to practice wise water use.

More information on wise water uses and tips on indoor/outdoor water conservation are available here.


Media Contact:     Chris Wood, Ph.D.

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