U.S. Water News Online
ATHENS, Ga. -- If the drought continues, Athens-Clarke
County will need to begin rationing water by Thanksgiving and the
Bear Creek Reservoir will run out of water by Christmas, a county
County Manager Alan Reddish told Athens-Clarke County
commissioners that a total outdoor watering ban and voluntary
conservation measures have cut water consumption in Athens by nearly
20 percent & to 16.3 million gallons a day.
Under current conditions, the reduced usage and an emergency
permit to withdraw more water from Middle Oconee River will provide
Barrow, Clarke, Jackson and Oconee counties with drinking water until
Dec. 21, Reddish said.
But he recommended that the Athens-Clarke County Commission
approve so-called "Step F" water restrictions on Nov. 21 if drought
conditions do not improve. Step F involves prioritizing uses of
water, such as for drinking and fire protection, in an emergency
drought management plan. But county officials still are working on a
list of priorities.
Athens-Clarke County officials are working on a draft of the
restrictions to give to commissioners soon.
Meanwhile, University of Georgia President Michael Adams announced
the school is forming a task force to come up with more ways to
conserve water, both during the drought and long term.
The Upper Oconee Basin Water Authority, which runs Bear Creek
Reservoir, declared a Level 4 drought Sept. 14, banning almost all
outdoor water use in Barrow, Clarke, Jackson and Oconee counties.
Athens-Clarke County declared similar restrictions the next day. The
bans went into effect Sept. 18.
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