State officials have declared most of Georgia, including DeKalb and Fulton counties, to be in a drought condition. They urge residents not to waste water and stick to conservation laws about such activities as lawn-watering.

The drought declaration follows a dry and hot month of September. Rain has returned to the local area, but more rain will be needed to catch up.

The “Level 1” drought declaration by the state Environmental Protection Division does not come with any new restrictions on water use. It only requires water utilities to notify customers about the need to conserve water under existing laws.

The main existing law is a restriction on outdoor water use between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The intent is to prevent overuse of water, which can evaporate quickly in the daytime.

That restriction has several exceptions that apply to home uses. There are no time restrictions on irrigating a personal food garden; on watering with a hand-held container or with a hose that has an automatic shut-off; or on using drip irrigation or a soaker hose.

For more information, see the state’s water conservation web page here.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.