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Posted: June 19, 2009 12:00 a.m.

State further removes water restrictions

One week after Newton County's drought water restrictions were reduced, the state decided to remove the drought restrictions altogether.

On June 10 Gov. Sonny Perdue declared Georgia was going to non-drought restrictions because of the state's abundant rainfall over the past few months.

The only changes for Newton County residents is that they can now use water to water lawns, wash cars, water plants and for other approved uses anytime during the day on the odd/even address schedule, and they can now wash or power wash hard surfaces, including driveways, parking lots and buildings according to Georgia's Drought Management Plan.

However, outdoor watering of lawns and plans is not advised between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. because it is not effective during the middle of the day. The use of fire hydrants is still only allowed for public safety purposes.

Odd-numbered addresses can water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and even-numbered and unnumbered addresses are allowed to water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Although the drought restrictions are over, state and local officials stressed that Georgia residents must continue to practice water conservation.

"The decision to ease outdoor watering restrictions should not be seen as a license to waste water, but as a vote of confidence in Georgians ability to conserve and use water efficiently," Environmental Protection Division Director Carol A. Couch said in a press release.

Newton County can choose to apply for stricter restrictions if it wants, but Chairman Kathy Morgan said the county will continue to follow the state's regulations.

"As long as we have ample water in our reservoir, we'll abide by the state's decisions," Morgan said. "If we see the reservoir levels lowering, we'll start a dialogue with the state. If the individual citizens of Georgia are mindful of the practices for water conversation, we should be fine, but if we go 40 days without rain (we'll have to increase restrictions)."

Climatologists have warned that drought conditions could return at any point and water restrictions will be a permanent way of life in Georgia.

Georgia had been in a drought since 2001, but on April 3 State Climatologist David Stooksbury declared that virtually all of Georgia was out of drought conditions.
A side effect of the relaxed restrictions is that county water providers will likely see more revenue due to increased sales.


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