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Tighter water restrictions announced as drought extends
1024DROUGHT
Hall County is now at a Level 2 drought response designation, leading to further water use restrictions. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Water restrictions

• Residents at even-numbered addresses and properties without numbered addresses may water their yards or plants before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. Those with odd-numbered addresses may water their yards or plants before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays.

• Prohibited outdoor water uses include washing hard surfaces such as streets and sidewalks; water for ornamental purposes, such as fountains; use of fire hydrants, except for firefighting and public safety; noncommercial washing of vehicles; noncommercial pressure washing and fundraising car washes.

Rain since start of September in Gainesville

Sept. 2: 0.15 inches

Sept. 19: 1.10 inches

Oct. 8: 0.6 inches

Nov. 13: 0.04 inches

Nov. 14: 0.04 inches

Total: 1.93 inches

Source: National Weather Service

Rain by month since start of September

September: 1.25 inches (4.55 inches is average)

October: 0.6 inches (3.88 inches is average)

November (so far): 0.08 inches (2.27 inches is average for full month of November)

Source: National Weather Service

Hall County residents will have to limit their water use as drought conditions continue to worsen.

At the Georgia Environmental Protection’s recommendation, Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday elevated Hall and 51 other counties to a Level 2 drought response designation.

The designation comes as Gainesville has received less than 2 inches of rain since the start of September, including .08 inches combined Sunday and Monday. Those were the first days with measurable rain since Oct. 8.

The National Weather Service has recorded only five days of measurable rain since September began.

Residents can now only water their yards or plants at designated times.

Residents at even-numbered addresses and properties without numbered addresses may water their yards or plants before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays. Those with odd-numbered addresses may water their yards or plants before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays.

The pronounced drought has brought Lake Lanier’s water level to 1,061.41 feet as of Thursday morning, forcing docks to be moved further out and leaving large portions of the lake now as nothing more than mud.

The lake’s full summer pool is 1,071 feet, and its winter full pool is 1,070 feet.

Such dire conditions come less than a year after Lanier reached 1,075.48 feet on Dec. 31.

The Environmental Protection Division said Northeast Georgia is in its 21st week of drought.

Prohibited outdoor water uses include washing hard surfaces such as streets and sidewalks; water for ornamental purposes, such as fountains; use of fire hydrants, except for firefighting and public safety; noncommercial washing of vehicles; noncommercial pressure washing and fundraising car washes.

“Today’s declaration is driven by an extended period of little or no rain and increasing dryness in the impacted areas,” EPD Director Richard Dunn said in a press release. “What’s more, there is little hope for relief as weather forecasters expect an unusually warm, dry winter across most of the state.”

Dawson, Forsyth, Lumpkin, White, Jackson, Banks, Habersham and Gwinnett counties are also in Level 2 drought conditions.

In addition to the 52 Georgia counties under Level 2 drought response designation, another 58 are under the less serious Level 1 designation.

Deal advised residents to heed the water guidelines.

“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,” Deal said in the press release.