Drought Returns to Georgia

Georgia counties under level 1 drought conditions.
Georgia counties under level 1 drought conditions.
Today, the Georgia Department of Environmental Protection declared level 1 drought conditions in 53 north Georgia counties. During a level 1 drought, water utilities must begin public education campaigns about the importance of conservation of water, however there are no additional water use restrictions in effect beyond the normal requirement that prohibits most outdoor watering between 10 AM and 4 PM. From a press release:

“Water utilities have already taken action to insure that water supplies are generally good and practicing effective water conservation will help provide sufficient supplies through the coming months if dry conditions persist,” said EPD Director Richard Dunn.

“North Georgia has had a hot, dry summer and the fall season is historically a dry time of the year,” said State Climatologist Bill Murphey. “Current drought conditions are likely to continue through the fall season, although tropical activity and rain-producing systems can provide beneficial rainfall.”

The last major drought in Georgia occurred between 2007 and 2009, and led to then-Governor Sonny Perdue to declare a state of emergency in portions of north Georgia. In addition, the governor was mocked by many after he prayed for rain on the steps of the Gold Dome. The drought finally ended after what was called a 500 year flood occurred in September 2009.

As of yet, the situation is nowhere near as dire as it was nine years ago. And Georgia’s water usage declined dramatically despite a rising population, in part due to the past drought. Normally, winter rains replenish the groundwater and reservoirs. If that doesn’t happen this drought could get much worse.


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