Newton County residents are now under restrictions for water use after the Board of Commissioners (BOC) unanimously approved to raise the county’s Drought Response Level to level 2.
Newton County Water Resources Director James Brown requested the increase in response levels due to Lake Varner being at 10 feet below full pool. The restrictions imposed by the Level 2 Drought Response are effective immediately.
The drought response designation — level 2 — means outdoor irrigation for purposes of planting, growing, managing or maintaining ground cover, trees, shrubs or other plants will be limited to two days a week on an odd-even schedule between the hours of 4 p.m. to 10 a.m. Even numbered addresses may irrigate on Wednesday and Saturday and odd numbered addresses may irrigate on Thursday and Sunday.
Prohibited uses of water include washing hard surfaces, such as streets, gutters and sidewalks, using water for ornamental purposes, such as fountains, reflecting pools and waterfalls, washing vehicles, non-commercial washing of buildings or structures and charity fundraiser car washes.
Commercial car washes are still open and able to operate despite the escalation in restrictions.
The restrictions will be enforced by the municipalities and the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, according to Brown. Brown had to bring his request for an increase in drought response in front of the BOC due to the fact that the state had not yet issued a change in its response level.
“We’re in agreement that imposing Level 2 would be best for everybody,” Brown said. “The state [change in drought response levels] could be this week or in another week.”