State makes drought official

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By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor

Morgan County is among the 52 counties across Georgia designated with Level II drought status. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal made the declaration last week, after the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) reported “more than 22 percent of the state is now under an exceptional drought, which is the highest level, and more than 52 percent is in an extreme drought.”

“There’s areas of the state that haven’t seen rainfall since early September,” EPD Director Richard Dunn said.

For Morgan County residents, a Level II Drought designation requires limitations on outdoor water use. According to the EPD,

“A Level 2 drought response limits outdoor watering to two days a week on an odd-even schedule. Even-numbered addresses may water Wednesdays and Saturdays (4 p.m. to 10 a.m.). Odd-numbered addresses may water Thursdays and Sundays (4 p.m. to 10 a.m.). No water is allowed to be used for outdoor fountains, car washes or power washing of homes.”

According to Madison City Manager David Nunn, the city is in a good place for now with water.

“We definitely need rain,” said Nunn. “But The City’s water supplies are stable for now. We rely heavily on Lake Oconee and also Hard Labor Creek, which we release from a reservoir to keep that creek up to where we can withdraw, but we are implementing restrictions on water usage as per the state mandate for a level II drought declaration.”

The city is exploring other ways to cutback on water usage.

“My understanding is that we have to select additional strategies, but I have not yet got with my superintendents and operators to pick out which ones to go with,” said Nunn. According to Nunn, the city could ask local restaurants not to serve water automatically to guests, but only when ordered. The City could also request residents to use pool covers. They city might even cut back on street cleaning programs if the drought persists. 

Nunn noted that there are punitive measures the city could take against residents who refuse to abide by water restrictions. “There could be some kind of monetary penalty,”

said Nunn. “I don’t think we would consider it at this time, we could do that but for the most part people are very compliant.  It hasn’t been a problem.”

Nunn encouraged people be conscious of their water usage, but not to worry.

“There is no cause for panic. We are in better shape than some. The city, over the past 30 years, has prepared for something like this.”

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