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State eases water restrictions

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POSTED: February 27, 2008 5:01 a.m.
ATLANTA -- At the Georgia Agribusiness Council's legislative breakfast Friday, Gov. Sonny Perdue announced the state will ease outdoor watering limitations through exemptions to the Level Four drought restrictions implemented in September 2007.
It effects North Georgia, mostly, since restrictions have not been as strict in our area.
The governor said easing restrictions strikes a balance between sound management of our water resources and support of Georgia's industries that depend on water use. Perdue also announced that his call for 10 percent water use reductions on water permit holders would continue using last year's April to September average monthly water use as the baseline.
"Georgians have demonstrated their dedication to a culture of conservation," Perdue said. "It is important to continue to encourage conservation with the 10 percent reduction, which I believe we can achieve while also supporting industries that are so essential to our state."
With the easing:
• Hand watering will be allowed for 25 minutes per day on an odd-even schedule between midnight and 10 a.m.  Odd numbered addresses can water on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.  Even numbered addresses can water Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.  Hand watering is defined as one person with one garden hose with a spray nozzle that shuts off when it is released.
• New professionally installed landscape can be watered up to three days a week from midnight to 10 a.m. for a period of 10 weeks based on the odd/even schedule. The new schedule will help ensure the survival of new landscape without requiring more water than what is being used under the current 30-day exemption.
• Anyone wishing to water new, professionally installed landscape must register with the Outdoor Water Use Registration Program. The program will be hosted on the Urban Agricultural Council Web site at www.urbanagcouncil.com beginning April 1, when the outdoor watering exemptions take effect. Georgians may also contact their county extension agents for assistance in getting registered.
Local governments and water utilities in the 61-county Level Four Drought Response area will still be required to achieve the governor's water use reduction goal of at least 10 percent. Beginning April 1, the water savings will be calculated using last year's April-September average monthly water use.
"These steps will give consumers confidence to buy and plant new trees and shrubbery," Perdue said. "It will give retailers confidence to stock these items, and it will give producers confidence to grow them. This action will lend renewed strength to the landscaping industry in Georgia."
More information about the drought and water conservation can be found at www.georgiaepd.com and www.conservewatergeorgia.net.
 

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