With state officials recently announcing a Level 1 drought statewide, Columbia County residents must now slightly change their outdoor watering times.
That said, the new state requirement won't change the county's permitted watering days: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for those at even addresses and Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays for those at odd addresses. No watering is allowed on Mondays.
"The only thing is that when they (the Environmental Protection Division) went to Level 1, we also have to go to Level 1 in that you can't water between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.,'' said Billy Clayton, the county's waterworks director.
Clayton said the county's permitted days of watering according to a person's address are different from the state's odd-even schedule. He said that's because Columbia and Richmond counties instituted an odd-even schedule before the state, and the state later allowed both counties to keep their schedule unchanged.
"Augusta and I talked to the state and said we will implement your regulations, but let us just keep the days that we already have, and they did,'' Clayton said.
Clayton said that when it comes to water demand and supply, Columbia County is doing fine, adding that to his knowledge the northeastern part of the state is having more of an issue with water.
"Obviously, we're still pumping out a lot of water, but nothing that causes me concern,'' he said. "... I don't think it's panic time by any stretch of the imagination.''
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