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Published on November 17th, 2016 |

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Gov. Deal institutes bans on water use, commercial fireworks due to drought

Gov. Nathan Deal Thursday (Nov. 17) instituted a server Level 2 water use ban for Buckhead and 52 Georgia north and central Georgia counties—just days following his order Monday banning the use of commercial fireworks—due to ongoing severe drought conditions.
Based on recommendations by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, Deal approved a Level 2 drought response in 52 counties, including all of metro Atlanta. Another 58 counties also were moved into the less-strict Level 1 drought response.
Level 2 brings with it a host of watering restrictions, including a limit on the days people may water their lawns and outright bans on certain other water uses.
“During this prolonged period of severe drought in Georgia, we are bolstering the state’s drought response in more than 100 counties,” Deal said. “I would like to remind Georgians that there are specific guidelines and prohibitions to follow during a Level 1 and Level 2 Drought Response. We urge these communities to act accordingly, use good judgment and avoid outdoor burning and watering while we continue to work with the EPD and pray for rain across the state.”
During a Level 2 response, outdoor landscape watering is only allowed two days per week, determined by odd and even address numbers. Even-numbered addresses may water on Wednesdays and Saturdays, between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. Odd-numbered addresses may water Thursdays and Sundays, between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m.
Water uses that are prohibited outright during the Level 2 response include:
• washing hard surfaces such as streets and sidewalks
• water for ornamental purposes, such as fountains
• the use of fire hydrants, except for firefighting and public safety
• non-commercial washing of vehicles
• non-commercial pressure washing
• fundraising car washes
This week marks the 24th week of continuous severe drought in northwest Georgia, the 22nd week for the Atlanta metro area, the 21st week in northeastern parts of the state and the 15th week in central Georgia.
On Monday, Gov. Deal issued an executive order banning the use of commercial fireworks indefinitely in 110 Georgia counties.
“Over the preceding six months, many areas of the state of Georgia have experienced significant drought conditions and there have been numerous instances of uncontrolled fires that seriously threaten the welfare of citizens of this state,” the order read.
The two orders come as a series of wildfires rage through north Georgia, sending plumes of smoke that have filled the sky in metro Atlanta. Most notably, the Rough Ridge fire has burned through about 20,000 acres in Fannin County. That fire has been burning since Oct. 16 and was started by a lightning strike. As of Monday, it was only 20 percent contained.
The Thursday ban on water uses “is driven by an extended period of little or no rain and increasing dryness in the impacted areas,” said Environmental Protection Division Director Richard Dunn. “What’s more, there is little hope for relief as weather forecasters expect an unusually warm, dry winter across most of the state.”
The counties assigned a Level 2 Drought Response are: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Athens-Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dade, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fannin, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gilmer, Gordon, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Harris, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Lamar, Lumpkin, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Murray, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Union, Upson, Walker, Walton, White and Whitfield.
For more information, visit the Environmental Protection Division’s website.

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