Georgia Agency Bans Most Outdoor Water Use

The director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has declared a level four drought response across the northern third of Georgia, which prohibits most types of outdoor residential water use effective immediately.

"The drought of 2007 has reached historic proportions, so it's critical that we take immediate action to ensure that Georgians have a sufficient supply of safe drinking water," said EPD Director Carol A. Couch. "All of the counties included in the level four declaration are located in areas of either exceptional or extreme drought."

The drought declaration was made following a Sept. 28 meeting of the State Drought Response Committee. The committee includes representatives from several state, federal and local agencies, as well as universities and non-government organizations. The EPD director, working with State Climatologist David Stooksbury, consults with the committee members and then determines the appropriate drought response.

"During a year of average rainfall, water levels in Georgia's large reservoirs such as Lanier and Allatoona tend to drop in late summer and then recover as the winter rains arrive," Stooksbury said . "But the forecast calls for a dry, mild winter and that could result in serious water supply problems by next spring."

The level four drought response was declared for all counties in north Georgia from Muscogee County on the Alabama line northeastward to Spalding County, and eastward to Lincoln County on the South Carolina line. The level four drought response includes all of metropolitan Atlanta, Rome, Athens and Columbus, but does not include the cities of Macon and Augusta. For a complete list of counties included in the level four drought response, visit www.georgiaepd.com/Files_PDF/news/Level_4_Counties.pdf.

Counties not on the list will remain subject to the current level two drought response.

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