The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners plans to ratify a resolution declaring the non-drought status at its next meeting, but customers may begin following the new water schedule immediately.
Earlier this week, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue announced that the state had issued a non-drought schedule for outdoor water use for the first time since June 2006. Even though Rockdale County has its own water supply reservoir, the county must follow outdoor water use regulations adopted by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Environmental Protection Division (EPD). EPD had placed 55 north Georgia counties, including Rockdale, under a level four drought response, which prohibits most types of outdoor water use.
Last year, Rockdale County officials successfully petitioned EPD for modified, less stringent water use restrictions. The basis for the petition was that water in Rockdale's reservoir, Randy Poynter Lake, comes from the Middle Ocmulgee Basin, which was not experiencing the same shortage as the Middle Chattahoochee Basin that fills Lake Lanier. Rockdale's 650-acre lake was at full pool with normal inflow from the watershed. At full pool, Randy Poynter Lake holds 5.1 billion gallons and is designed to have a safe yield of 35 million gallons per day. Current average demand is under 11 million gallons per day.
EPD allowed Rockdale to adopt regulations allowing outdoor water use on an odd/even basis, three days per week between midnight and 10 a.m. The new regulations eliminate the hourly restrictions.