Let the water flow
Newton residents can increase irrigation

COVINGTON - Watering restrictions have been relaxed for Newton County residents and other metro Atlantans.

Following an order by Georgia Environmental Protection Division Director Carol Couch, residents can now use drip irrigation and soaker hoses to water plants, but not grass, for up to one hour three days per week, between the hours of midnight and 10 a.m. The odd-even schedule in effect for watering still applies. Residents with odd-numbered addresses can water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and those with even addresses can water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

"Water levels are good. We actually have water going over the dam," at Lake Varner, the county's drinking water reservoir, Water Resources Director Karl Kelley said. On Tuesday, the water level at Lake Varner, also known as Cornish Creek Reservoir, was 701.4 feet. Full pool is 700 feet.

"Last year, the Board of Commissioners adopted state regulations, whatever form that might take. When the state changes their regulations, Newton County automatically changes our regulations," Kelley said.

The following watering restrictions remain in force:

· Swimming pools may be filled/refilled without limitation.

· Hand-watering is permitted 25 minutes per day on the odd-even schedule between midnight and 10 a.m. Hand-watering is defined as one person with one hose with a nozzle that automatically shuts off when released.

· Newly installed landscaping may be watered up to three days per week using the odd-even schedule after taking the state's Outdoor Water Use Program, available online or through the Newton County Extension office, whose phone number is 770-784-2010.

For more information, go to www.savewaternewton.com, call the Newton County Water Resources Department at 678-625-1684 or call Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful at 770-784-2015 or e-mail newtonclean@co.newton.ga.us.

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