COLUMBUS, Ga. – The current drought is forcing many people in the Chattahoochee Valley to watch the way they use water. More than 100 Georgia counties are under various drought responses. City officials are holding Georgians in those counties responsible for their water usage.
“You know with the drought we’ve been having, it’s taking a toll,” Columbus resident Kyle Albright told News 3.
Albright used to water his lawn five days a week. Now, he limits his watering to three days a week. Muscogee County is currently under a level-one drought response, which restricts irrigation between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. Albright says he took the extra initiative to cut back to prevent potential fires.
“I know they found one yesterday at an apartment complex and off Double Churches,” Albright referenced. “So we want to do whatever we can to keep our community safe.”
Columbus Water Works monitors water usage in Muscogee County. Vic Burchfield with Columbus Water Works says the utilities company will place notices at homes that do not follow the drought restrictions. After a second violation, residents are subject to a $25 fine. A third violation will net a $50 fine, and four or more violations will result in a $100 fine or even termination of service. Burchfield reminds residents to check for leaky or running water sources in and around their homes. He says most people generally abide by the water restrictions, which have been in place since 2010.
“They respond quickly and generally there’s not a need for additional responses we use for compliance,” Burchfield said.
Hamilton’s water superintendent Ricky Hood says a level-two drought response in Harris County limits watering to twice a week.
“We’ll stop and talk with them about it, and ask that they abide by the level of the restrictions,” Hood explained. “We’ve also got our city police involved in monitoring.”
Both Hood and Albright say getting past this drought will take some time. In the meantime, Albright continues to tell his neighbors what they can do to keep their lawns healthy.
“I just try and look after the community,” Albright said. “At the same time, we want to make sure we don’t do any harm to the grass and shrubs because we have a lot of money invested in them.”
For more information on drought responses across the state, click here: Georgia Drought Response Declaration.