National Drinking Water Week

courtesy of the American Water Works

National Drinking Water Week draws to a close tomorrow.   Since we have a 95% chance of overnight rain, it may be hard to remember that Cobb, Fulton, and seven other metro Atlanta counties are still suffering drought conditions.  But we are in Level 2 drought response, which carries water restrictions.  Our primary source of water is still seriously low.  Our supply comes from the Lake Lanier-Chattahoochee River system, and Lake Lanier is 10 feet below its full pool level according to the Metropolitan North Georgia  Water Planning District. The winter rains did not raise levels enough to alleviate the drought.

Chattahoochee River looking south from Highway 78 — photo by Larry Felton Johnson

The Water Planning District was founded by the Atlanta Regional Commission and includes 15 counties and 95 cities.  Their website displays the following three useful lists for what we can and can’t do under our current restrictions, and suggestions for conserving water

What’s Allowed

The following practices are not subject to the 4pm to 10am or twice a week restrictions:

  • Irrigation of personal food gardens
  • Irrigation of new and replanted seed, turf or plants for a period of 30 days following installation
  • Watering with drip irrigation or soaker hose
  • Hand watering, including hoses with shut-off nozzles
  • Water from private wells and bodies of water on property
  • Hydroseeding
  • Irrigation of sports fields, golf courses and public recreational turf areas
  • Irrigation of plants for sale

What’s NOT Allowed

  • Washing streets, gutters, sidewalks and driveways
  • Ornamental uses, such as fountains and waterfalls
  • Use of fire hydrants, except for the purpose of firefighting, public health, safety, or flushing
  • Washing vehicles (cars, boats, etc.) at home
  • Non-commercial washing or pressure washing
  • Charity, or non-commercial fundraiser, car washes

Steps Metro Atlanta Residents Can Take to Conserve Water

Here are some ways metro Atlanta residents can save water:

  • Check and repair leaks inside and outside the home.
  • Shorten showers and turn off water when shaving or brushing teeth.
  • Fill dishwashers and washing machines. Make sure there is a full load every time.
  • Replace older toilets and shower heads with high efficiency models. If your home was built before 1993, you may qualify for a toilet rebate.
  • Choose efficient appliances. Look for EPA WaterSense and ENERGY STAR labeled products when shopping for new appliances and fixtures.
  • Scrape dishes before washing them. Avoid using the garbage disposal. It wastes a lot of water and can contribute to pipe clogs.

National Drinking Water Week was initiated by the American Water Works Association more than 35 years ago. For more information about American Drinking Water Week, our restrictions, and what we as citizens can do to conserve water, visit


East bank of the Chattahoochee River from Highway 78 — photo by Larry Felton Johnson