Georgia is one of the lucky ones when it comes to water. The Peach State gets about 50 inches of rain a year. While we may struggle with the humidity in the thick of summer, we don’t exactly lack for water when it comes to our yards.
That said, watering your yard is not a free-for-all, and Atlanta has some watering restrictions.
Keep an Eye on the Clock
The City of Atlanta is currently on a nondrought watering schedule, so the toughest restriction right now is a ban on watering between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Watering in the heat of the day means a lot of water lost to evaporation. It’s also not good for your grass, encouraging fungus problems and stressing the blades. If you’ve got a timer on your irrigation system, set it to go off at 5 a.m.
Exceptions to the Rule
This is where it gets a little complicated. There are some very specific exceptions to the watering restrictions. In some cases, you can water between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Those exceptions include:
- Commercial agricultural operations
- Personal food gardens
- New and replanted seed or turf in landscapes
- Golf courses or other sports turf fields,
- Athletic fields or public recreation areas
- Those installing irrigation systems.
The city also allows drip irrigation and hand watering any time. It’s also okay o reuse household grey water and reclaimed wastewater at any time. Basically, if you’re a property owner watering the regular old grass, don’t do it during the hottest hours of the day. Everybody else can generally go about their business without worrying about it.
Conditions Can Change
Georgia was in an extreme drought as recently as 2016. That’s when the state Environmental Protection Division imposed mandatory water restrictions on 52 counties, including metro Atlanta. You may remember watering was restricted to two times a week during the drought. Those restrictions were lifted on a county-by-county basis in 2017 and the early months of 2018. The EPD officially lifted the last of the drought restrictions in March of 2018. But the nondrought restrictions barring homeowners from watering the lawn between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are still in effect.
Don’t Take Water for Granted
Drought has played a major role in Georgia history. The Drought of 1924 devastated the state’s agricultural economy leading up to the Great Depression. The dry period made the 1930s even harder for many Georgians who struggled to survive in that era. The U.S. Drought Monitor came into play in 2000, and in 2006, one of the longest droughts in recent history hit, lasting for more than three years. At its worst, the week of Christmas 2007, about half of the state was in extreme drought.
Georgia is a state usually blessed with water, from the amount of rainfall to the Chattahoochee and Chestatee Rivers and all the lakes. That abundance is reflected in the laxity of local watering rules when there is no drought. The daytime watering restrictions in Atlanta will stop you from wasting water and keep your lawn and flowers healthy. Watering early in the morning keeps the plants free from fungus and other stresses that could make them vulnerable to disease and pests.
Do you have questions about lawn or garden care? Please visit our Atlanta, GA lawn care page for more information.