Rain might have come down in the area earlier this week, but according to the National Weather Service, the CSRA is still experiencing a rain shortfall that has led to outdoor watering restrictions for the past several years.
In fact, Columbia County Water Department officials say the county will always be under some type of outdoor watering restriction.
"It's not really considered a watering ban," said Mark Inglett, the operations manager for Columbia County's water department. "The state imposed it on us a few years back and it's really a water conservation program."
Under the current outdoor watering program, no watering is allowed on Mondays. Residents with even-numbered addresses can water Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and residents with odd-numbered addresses are allowed to water Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Penalties for violating this ordinance range from a written warning to fines to disconnection of service.
Columbia County offers a number of tips on its Web site that address ways to conserve water while still maintaining a healthy lawn and garden during the summer's heat. To begin with, it is recommended that watering be done in the early morning hours to prevent water loss through evaporation. Watering should be done slowly and deeply, so that 6 to 8 inches of the soil will absorb it. Typically, an established lawn needs only an inch of water every seven to 10 days.
"Ground saturation encourages shallow root growth, which causes the grass to lose its ability to survive drought," the Web site says.
Another tip suggests using water-efficient irrigation systems, such as soaker hoses or drip irrigation. Collecting rain water for use during drought times is also a great way to conserve water.
Finally, the Web site recommends raising the mower blade during dry weather. Deep rooting is encouraged when the grass is cut higher, increasing grass survival during times of drought and reducing the demand for water.
Whether you employ soaker hoses, rain barrels or limited outdoor watering, lawns and gardens should not suffer even during the year's hottest temperatures, which peak in July and August. By consciously adhering to tips for water conservation, a healthy lawn and garden can exist despite Georgia's sweltering summer heat.
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