U.S. Water News Online
CANTON, Ga. -- Canton officials issued a total ban on
outdoor watering recently, citing low levels at the Etowah River.
With a four-year drought affecting Georgia, stream levels across
the state are their lowest in years, officials said. The last 12
months were the driest the state has seen in more than 100 years,
according to state climatologist David Stooksbury.
``If we have another seven to 10 days like the last, with little
to no rainfall and with temperatures in the mid-90s, I suspect many
other water systems will institute total outdoor watering bans,'' he
Canton, in Cherokee County, also supplies water to the cities of
Waleska and Holly Springs and other entities.
``The river at our intake is extremely low. If it keeps going like
it is, we're going to have some serious problems,'' said Brady Curl,
project manager for Optech, the city's contractor for water
collection and distribution.
Curl said Canton's water plant is pumping at its full capacity of
5.4 million gallons per day (mgd), up from its normal 3.8 to 4 mgd
Carroll County and the city of Carrollton are also under a total
outdoor watering ban. Metro Atlanta cities and counties remain under
a partial, every-other-day ban that began in June 2000. The rest of
the state is under less stringent rules.
``We've got a river that's very low,'' Canton Mayor Cecil Pruett
said. ``We haven't had rain in a long time, and water usage has gone
up substantially. We need to slow it down a bit and take it
(restrictions) up another step.''
Pruett said the city will enforce the mandate and issue warnings
on first offense, $50 fines on second, $100 on third and
disconnection of water service on fourth offense with a $500 charge
In May, the state Environmental Protection Division declined to
tighten water restrictions throughout Georgia, a move that had been
The summer's recent rain pattern has provided a decent soaking
every couple of weeks, EPD spokesman Kevin Chambers said. ``It pulls
everyone out of the fire for a little while,'' he said. ``We didn't
get that last round.''
EPD will continue to evaluate whether the state needs to impose
the outdoor watering bans, he said.
The Chattahoochee River at Cornelia, upstream from Lake Lanier,
has hit a record low, Stooksbury said. The river and lake supply most
of metro Atlanta's drinking water.
Pruett said with sufficient rain, the watering ban could be
``We certainly do not want to cause a hardship,'' he said, ``but
we don't want to take any chances.''
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