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UGA Cooperative Extension experts available to speak on the drought By Merritt Melancon

After months of abnormally dry and warm conditions, 52 north Georgia counties are now facing water use restrictions in accordance with Gov. Nathan Deal’s Level 2 drought response designation. Fifty-eight other counties are being required to implement Level 1 drought responses.

Homeowners and businesses in the affected counties must limit their landscape irrigation to two days a week. Even-numbered addresses and properties without numbered addresses may water on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. Odd-numbered addresses may water Thursdays and Sundays, also between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m.

The Level 2 drought response also calls for homeowners and business owners to refrain from washing hard surfaces, such as streets and sidewalks; washing cars at home or for fundraisers; noncommercial pressure washing; using fountains or water features; and using fire hydrants for any reason except for firefighting and public safety.

Irrigation of newly installed turf or landscape plants or vegetable gardens; irrigation at commercial nurseries, parks, sports fields and golf courses; hand-watering; and irrigation with drip or soaker hoses are exempt from these regulations, as these are considered agricultural water uses.

Counties that are part of the Level 2 drought response area include: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Athens-Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dade, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fannin, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gilmer, Gordon, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Harris, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Lamar, Lumpkin, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Murray, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Union, Upson, Walker, Walton, White and Whitfield.

Fifty-eight counties have been designated as Level 1 drought areas, which requires water authorities to launch water conservation campaigns and restricts outdoor water use to between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m.

The counties included in the Level 1 drought response are: Baker, Baldwin, Bibb, Bleckley, Calhoun, Chattahoochee, Clay, Columbia, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Elbert, Franklin, Glascock, Greene, Hancock, Hart, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Jones, Laurens, Lee, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, Marion, McDuffie, Miller, Mitchell, Muscogee, Oglethorpe, Peach, Pulaski, Putnam, Quitman, Rabun, Randolph, Richmond, Schley, Seminole, Stephens, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taliaferro, Taylor, Terrell, Towns, Twiggs, Warren, Washington, Webster, Wilkes and Wilkinson.

University of Georgia Cooperative Extension has a long list of resources for homeowners and farmers coping with the drought, and for members of the media covering the drought.

Experts for covering the drought:

Local UGA Extension Agents

Every county in Georgia has access to a local expert on local drought conditions and water conservation measures. Visit extension.uga.edu to find your local agent.

Climate Science

Pam Knox, agricultural climatologist for UGA Extension

pknox@uga.edu (Email is best)

706-310-3467

Knox is a good source for historical context for this drought as well as explanations of the climatological patterns that have kept Georgia warmer and drier than normal.

blog.extension.uga.edu/climate/

gaclimate.com/

Home Landscapes

Sheri Dorn, coordinator for the Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteer program

sdorn@uga.edu

770-228-7243

Dorn has a wide-ranging horticultural background and has led the Georgia Master Gardener program as the group has focused on water conservation education.

She can offer a multitude of tips for helping your landscape survive dry times.

She coordinates a team of hundreds of volunteers working in gardens and communities across Georgia and is a great source for perspective for what the drought looks like in different parts of the state.

Agriculture

Gary Hawkins, agricultural water resources specialist for UGA Extension

706-310-3526

ghawkins@uga.edu

Hawkins is a source for information on agricultural water use and the drought’s impact on agriculture.

Green Industry

Ben Campbell, UGA applied economist who focuses on the impact of the green industry

706-542-0852

bencamp@uga.edu

Campbell is an economist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences who studies the impact of the green industry.

Clint Waltz, UGA Extension turfgrass specialist

770-228-7300

cwaltz@uga.edu

Waltz is a source for information on the science behind your lawn during a drought.

Matt Chappell, UGA Extension nursery plant production specialist

706-542-9044 

hortprod@uga.edu

Chappell can help explain how the drought is impacting the nursery industry and landscape shrubs.

(Merritt Melancon is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

USDA Drought Monitor OCT 2016
USDA Drought Monitor OCT 2016

As of Nov. 1, almost 75 percent of Georgia has been designated as having abnormally dry or drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Image credit: USDA Drought Monitor.

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As of Nov. 1, almost 75 percent of Georgia has been designated as having abnormally dry or drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Image credit: USDA Drought Monitor. Download Image
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