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Water Conservation/Restrictions

Water Restrictions/Conservation

Water Saving Tips from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs


  • ‣ Fully load automatic dishwashers; they use the same amount of water no matter how much is in them.
  • ‣ Buy dishwashers with water and energy saving options.
  • ‣ When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under a slow stream of water from the faucet. Use the dirty water to run your sink disposal if necessary.
  • ‣ Install water-softening systems only when necessary. Save water and salt by running the minimum amount of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness. Turn softeners off while on vacation.
  • ‣ Minimize the use of kitchen sink disposals; they require a lot of water to operate properly. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing of food waste.
  • ‣ Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run to get a cool glass of water.
  • ‣ Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost them overnight in the refrigerator.


  • ‣ Check for toilet leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes. Check the toilet for worn out, corroded, or bent parts.
  • ‣ Consider purchasing Low Flow toilets that can reduce indoor water use by 20%.
  • ‣ Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects and other similar waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
  • ‣ Replace your showerhead with an ultra low-flow version, saving up to 2.5 gallons per minute.
  • ‣ Take shorter showers. Try a “Navy” shower: get wet, turn off the water, soap and scrub, then turn the water on to rinse.
  • ‣ In the shower, instead of increasing the hot or cold water flow to adjust the water temperature, try decreasing the flow to achieve a comfortable water temperature.
  • ‣ Use the minimum amount of water needed for a bath by closing the drain first and filling the tub only 1/3 full. The initial burst of cold water can be warmed by adding hot water later.
  • ‣ Don’t let the water run while shaving, washing your face, or brushing your teeth.
  • ‣ Install a hot water recirculation device. By recirculating water that would otherwise go down the drain, you can save 2-3 gallons of water for each shower taken or 16,500 gallons a year per household. This may mean average annual savings of $50 on your water bill and $40 on your energy bill.

Outdoor Watering Restrictions

The Georgia Water Stewardship Act went into effect statewide on June 2, 2010. It allows daily outdoor watering for purposes of planting, growing, managing, or maintaining ground cover, trees, shrubs, or other plants only between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. by anyone whose water is supplied by a water system permitted by the Environmental Protection Division.

Reference: Doing More With Less – A Water Use Guide

Outdoor Water Use

  • ‣ Fully load automatic dishwashers; they use the same amount of water no matter how much is in them.
  • ‣ Water lawns early in the morning during the hotter summer months to reduce evaporation losses.
  • ‣ Fully load automatic dishwashers; they use the same amount of water no matter how much is in them.
  • ‣ Use a sprinkler that throws large drops of water rather than a fine mist. This will reduce water losses from wind drift and evaporation.
  • ‣ Fully load automatic dishwashers; they use the same amount of water no matter how much is in them.
  • ‣ Consider use of drip irrigation for bedded plants, trees, or shrubs. Watering at the roots is very effective; be careful not to over water.
  • ‣ Use a bucket of soapy water and use the hose only for rinsing when washing the car.
  • ‣ Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street. Stop your lawn watering before the water runs off your property and into the street. Also, don’t water your lawn on windy days so that water doesn’t blow onto the concrete.
  • ‣ Avoid planting turf in areas that are hard to water such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways. When watering grass on steep slopes, use a soaker hose to prevent wasteful runoff.
  • ‣ Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps. Use a grease pencil to mark the water level of your pool at the skimmer. Check the mark 24 hours later. Your pool should lose no more than 1/4 inch each day.
  • ‣ Plant during the spring or fall when the watering requirements are lower.
  • ‣ Use a layer of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
  • ‣ Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway or sidewalk and save 80 gallons of water every time.
  • ‣ Divide your watering cycle into shorter periods to reduce runoff and allow for better absorption every time you water.
  • ‣ Water your summer lawns once every three days and your winter lawn once every five days; but only water your lawn when needed. You can tell this by simply walking across your lawn. If you leave footprints, it’s time to water.
  • ‣ Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. Longer grass shades root systems and holds soil moisture better than a closely clipped lawn.
  • ‣ Use the sprinkler for larger areas of grass. Water small patches by hand to avoid waste.
  • ‣ Use porous materials for walkways and patios to keep water in your yard and prevent wasteful runoff.
  • ‣ Direct downspouts and other runoff towards shrubs and trees, or collect and use for your garden.
  • ‣ Install a rain shut-off device on your automatic sprinklers to eliminate unnecessary watering.
  • ‣ Reduce the amount of grass in your yard by planting shrubs, and ground cover with rock and granite mulching.
  • ‣ Remember to check your sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks and keep the heads in good shape.
  • ‣ Group plants with the same watering needs together to get the most out of your watering time. And next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low water use plant for year-round landscape color and save up to 550 gallons each year.
  • ‣ Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light, and water.
  • ‣ While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.
  • ‣ Avoid installing ornamental water features and fountains that spray water into the air. Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation.
  • ‣ Don’t buy recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
  • ‣ Buy a rain gauge to track how much rain or irrigation your yard receives. Check with your local water agency to see how much rain is needed to skip an irrigation cycle.
  • ‣ Teach your family how to shut off your automatic watering systems. Turn sprinklers off if the system is malfunctioning or when a storm is approaching.
  • ‣ Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden with a hose.
  • ‣ Use a screwdriver as a soil probe to test soil moisture. If it goes in easily, don’t water. Proper lawn watering can save thousands of gallons of water annually.
  • ‣ Avoid overseeding your lawn with winter grass. Once established, ryegrass needs water every three to five days, whereas dormant Bermuda grass needs water only once a month.
  • ‣ When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it the most.
  • ‣ Make sure your swimming pools, fountains, and ponds are equipped with recirculating pumps.
  • ‣ Landscape with Xeriscape trees, plants and groundcovers. Call your local conservation office for more information about these water thrifty plants.
  • ‣ Winterize outdoor spigots when temps dip to 20 degrees F to prevent pipes from bursting or freezing.
  • ‣ Wash your car on the grass. This will water your lawn at the same time. Use a hose nozzle and turn off the water while you wash your car and save more than 100 gallons.
  • ‣ Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on top of the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
  • ‣ Start a compost pile. Using compost when you plant adds water-holding organic matter to the soil. Throw trimmings and peelings from fruits and vegetables into your yard compost to prevent from using the garbage disposal.
  • ‣ More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering. Be sure only to water plants when necessary.
  • ‣ Bathe your pets outdoors in an area in need of water.
  • ‣ Aerate your lawn. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart so water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
  • ‣ Place an empty tuna can on your lawn to catch and measure the water output of your sprinklers. For lawn watering advice, contact your local conservation office.
  • ‣ When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
  • ‣ When backwashing your pool, consider using the water on your landscaping.
  • ‣ For hanging baskets, planters and pots, place ice cubes under the moss or dirt to give your plants a cool drink of water and help eliminate water overflow.
  • ‣ When you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don’t throw it in the trash, dump it on a plant.
  • ‣ Have your plumber re-route your gray water to trees and gardens rather than letting it run into the sewer line.

Around The House

  • ‣ Evaporative coolers require a seasonal maintenance checkup. For more efficient cooling, check your evaporative cooler annually. Also, direct the water drain from the cooler to a flowerbed, tree, or your lawn.
  • ‣ Check your water meter and bill to track your water usage.
  • ‣ When you clean your fish tank, use the water you’ve drained on your plants. The water is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, providing you with a free and effective fertilizer.
  • ‣ Grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It’s simple, inexpensive, and can save 140 gallons a week. We’re more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don’t forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses for leaks.
  • ‣ Teach your children to turn the faucets off tightly after each use.
  • ‣ Make sure you know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save gallons of water and damage to your home if a pipe were to burst.
  • ‣ Make sure there are aerators on all of your faucets.
  • ‣ Do one thing each day that will save water. Even if savings are small, every drop counts.
  • ‣ Insulate hot water pipes so you don’t have to run as much water to get hot water to the faucet.
  • ‣ Install water softening systems only when necessary. Save water and salt by running the minimum number of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness.
  • ‣ Listen for dripping faucets and toilets that flush themselves. Fixing a leak can save 500 gallons each month.

Laundry Room

  • ‣ When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load. It takes about 32 to 59 gallons of water per load.
  • ‣ When you shop for a new appliance, consider one offering cycle and load size adjustments. They are more water and energy-efficient than older appliances and can save up to 20 gallons per load.

In The Community

  • ‣ Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
  • ‣ Encourage your school system and local government to help develop and promote a water conservation ethic among children and adults.
  • ‣ Make suggestions to your employer to save water (and dollars) at work.
  • ‣ Support projects that use reclaimed wastewater for irrigation and other uses.
  • ‣ Encourage your friends and neighbors to be part of a water-conscious community.
  • ‣ Pick-up the phone and report significant water losses from broken pipes, open hydrants and errant sprinklers to the property owner or your water management district.
  • ‣ While staying in a hotel or even at home, consider reusing your towels.