Georgia is loosening water use restrictions in more than 80 counties as the drought has eased, but not for most metro Atlanta counties.
The drought has improved in much of Georgia over the past couple months, but it's still affecting Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River.
So while the state is lifting outdoor water use rules in 86 counties, the restrictions are staying in place for 12 counties that rely on that water. They are Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Lumpkin, Paulding and White counties.
“Winter rains have brought needed relief to much of the state, but Lake Lanier, the Chattahoochee River and smaller streams in the region have been slow to recover,” Richard Dunn, director of Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division, said in an email.
In the latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor, the northern edge of the state – including the area around the Chattahoochee River’s headwaters – is experiencing extreme drought conditions.
Even when there are no drought-related watering restrictions, Georgia limits outdoor watering. It's only ever allowed between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m.
For the 12 counties still under a "Level 2" drought response, watering is restricted to those hours, and to two days a week. Other prohibited activities are non-commercial car washes and hosing down streets, sidewalks, and ornamental fountains.