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Posted: June 3, 2009 3:29 p.m.

UPDATED: County watering restrictions lowered

Residents able to wash cars, water lawns

Newton County residents will be able to wash their cars and water their lawns Wednesday, because the state lowered Newton County's watering restrictions to Level IV c.

At Tuesday's Board of Commissioner's meeting, Administrative Officer John Middleton announced that residents will be able to water lawns and wash vehicles three days a week on the same odd-even address schedule currently used. Under that schedule watering is allowed between midnight and 10:00 am: odd addresses water on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, and even and unnumbered addresses water on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.

According to a press release from Karl Kelley, director of the Newton County Water Resources Department, certain activities are still prohibited including the washing of hard surfaces, such as streets, gutters, sidewalks and driveways, except when necessary for public health or safety. Using fire hydrants is also prohibited except for firefighting, public health, safety or flushing.

Previously allowed uses including filling up swimming pools, hand watering of existing landscaping for 25 minutes per day and watering of newly installed landscaping for up to 10 weeks under certain circumstances are still allowed and have not changed.

The BOC applied for the lowered restrictions at the end of April and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division approved the application May 4, which is effective immediately Wednesday.

District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz said county residents should continue to conserve water even though the restriction level has been lowered. The drought in Newton County was declared over in early April and rainfall has been above average so far this year. However, in an earlier interview Assistant State Climatologist Pam Knox said that water use restrictions will probably be a permanent way of life in Georgia because of the prolonged length of the drought.

"Drought caused a permanent change in how people use water. In Athens we cut use by 25 percent," she said in April. "People learn to use a lot less water than they used to; they learn they don't need as much."

If residents have any questions regarding the new restrictions they should call the customer service number on their water bill.

 

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