No surge in water usage after Georgia lifts drought notice

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Water usage hasn’t significantly increased in Columbia and Richmond counties since the state’s drought officially ended last week and some restrictions were lifted, say local officials.

“We’ve seen water go up a little bit, but mostly because it’s been so darn hot and rain has backed off a little bit,” said Columbia County Water Utility Director William Clayton.

Columbia County residents used 18.7 million gallons of water on June 10, the day state officials declared the drought was over. The next day, water usage jumped to 19 million gallons. As of Monday, it had slacked off to just 17.1 million gallons . On the Monday and Tuesday prior to the declaration, water usage was 18.5 million gallons and 18.3 million gallons, respectively.

Richmond County Water Superintendent Brantley Kuglar could not immediately provide specific numbers on water usage there, but said the amount treated by the county has not significantly changed since the drought officially ended.

“It looks like people are watering wisely,” said Mr. Kuglar. “I think we’ve conditioned our customers. We’re still preaching conservation.”

When state officials declared an end to the drought, they also lifted water restrictions preventing anyone from watering their lawns between 10 a.m. and midnight.

However, some restrictions remain. Residents with even-numbered addresses can only water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Those with odd-numbered addresses may water on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

“That does help with our water system,” Mr. Clayton said of those restrictions. “Can you imagine all of those sprinkler systems going off at one time? It would create a huge problem, like everyone in the county turned on every appliance they owned all at the same time. The electrical system wouldn’t be able to handle it.”


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