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County under new watering regulations

COVINGTON - Newton County and city of Covington residents are free to wash their cars and water their lawns at any time on designated days, now that new state watering restrictions have been adopted.

Residents of even-numbered and unnumbered addresses may water Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Residents with odd-numbered addresses can water Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Watering can take place at any time, though it is discouraged between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The Covington City Council adopted the new regulations at its June 15 meeting. The Newton County Board of Commissioners voted two years ago to adopt whatever regulations the state sets, according to Water Resources Director Karl Kelley.

Gov. Sonny Perdue announced earlier this month that due to significant rainfall and improved water supplies, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division had issued a non-drought schedule for outdoor water use for the first time since June 2006.

"Georgians have seen the most severe drought on record, and have proven their ability to conserve and manage our state's most precious resource," Perdue said. "We have become more educated about water conservation, and have taken significant steps toward ensuring a long-term solution. I believe Georgians will continue to use our water resources wisely under this new outdoor watering schedule."

North Georgians averaged a monthly water savings of about 15 percent since November 2007, according to a press release from the governor's office.

The state will continue to require large water systems and local governments producing more than 100,000 gallons of water per day that are located in the former Level IV drought response area to file monthly water use reports. If supplies drop and drought conditions reappear, tougher restrictions will be implemented again.

"We have just lived through one of the worst droughts in Georgia history, and citizens should be applauded for the great job they have done conserving water," EPD Director Carol A. Couch said. "The decision to ease outdoor watering restrictions should not be seen as a license to waste water, but as a vote of confidence in Georgians' ability to conserve and use water efficiently."