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County, city relax watering guidelines

COVINGTON - Newton County and the city of Covington have relaxed watering restrictions.

Effective immediately, hand watering is allowed for 25 minutes per day on an odd-even schedule between midnight and 10 a.m.

Odd-numbered addresses can water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Even-numbered addresses can water Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Hand watering is defined as one person with one garden hose with a spray nozzle that automatically shuts off when it is released.

Local utilities are allowed to adopt more stringent restrictions than the state, but with Lake Varner at less than 1 foot below full pool and City Pond at full pool, both the City Council and Board of Commissioners agreed to follow the state's new guidelines this week.

The county and city will also lift the ban on the filling of public and private outdoor pools between April and September.

Gov. Sonny Perdue announced the modifications earlier this month, but warned that, "Citizens should not see this as a signal the drought is over. The drought remains persistent and water conservation is our top priority."

Also effective April 1, newly installed landscapes can be watered up to three days a week from midnight to 10 a.m. for up to 10 weeks, based on the odd-even schedule.

Newly installed landscapes are defined as those that have been in place less than 30 days and were installed by a professionally certified or licensed landscaper, golf course contractor or sports turf landscaper.

However, watering of new landscapes is only allowed if the water user participates in a new outdoor water use registration program.

The program gives instructions on global water resources, Georgia's water resources, best landscape practices and proper watering techniques. Those who pass a test by at least 70 percent will register and print a certificate to display in a prominent location on the property and sign a pledge stating they will reduce overall water usage by at least 10 percent.

Registration is under way beginning March 1 at www.urbanagcouncil.com.

Those without Internet access should call their county extension agent.

Utilities are still being asked to reduce summer outdoor water usage by 10 percent of last year's usage.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@ newtoncitizen.com.