With Lake Lanier Levels Down, Officials Urge Caution
Officials with the Metro Water District warn of need to conserve water. Lake Lanier levels remain low and dry conditions are predicted for spring and early summer.
The Metro Water District sent out a press release Tuesday reminding residents and businesses that it remains essential to conserve water. Although Lake Lanier - the primary water source for metro Atlanta - has slowly risen, it still remains almost four feet below the average for this time of the year. It is also some seven feet below where it was the same time last year.
“The recent rainfall has helped somewhat to overcome the deficit we experienced in the fall,” Mayor Boyd Austin of Dallas and chairman of the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District said in a press release. “But, aggressive water conservation must remain a priority for all of us.”
Based on projections by the Corps of Engineers, Lake Lanier is approaching what the Corps calls Zone 4, the level at which releases are made only for water supply, water quality and minimal power generation. Dry conditions continue across South Georgia, southeast Alabama and the panhandle of Florida. Officials said conditions are so dry that stream flows on the lower Flint River are near historically low levels. This all means that Lake Lanier may become the source for metro Atlanta’s needs for drinking water as well as the source to supplement the lack of rain in the lower basin.
Metro Atlanta’s rainy season is usually between January and March and experts are predicting drier and warmer conditions this spring and early summer. The already low levels at Lake Lanier, coupled with widespread drought in South Georgia, has officials with the Metro Water District worried about Lake Lanier’s resources should March rains not materialize.
Water conservations measures are mandated for the metro Atlanta area as well as at the state level. However, Austin is calling on residents and businesses up and down the Chattahoochee River to continue to be vigilant is using water efficiently.
“Analysis of water use in our region over the last 10 years shows that the water conservation measures in the District’s plans are working, and I urge everyone to remember how important it is to conserve water every day,” he said in the release.
The Metro Water District offered the following tips to reduce water use outdoors and inside the home.
- Add organic matter to the soil to improve water holding capacity.
- Mulch around shrubs and garden plants to reduce evaporation and cut down on weeds.
- Use soaker hoses to water shrubs and trees.
- Read plant tags and choose the right plant for your sun/shade/soil conditions.
- Consider drought tolerant plants.
- Follow the State Outdoor Watering Rules
- Keep showers under five minutes.
- Repair leaks promptly
- Run the dishwasher and clothes water only when they are full.
- Install low-flow showerheads and faucets.
- Replace old toilets with water efficient toilets
- Check to see if your house is eligible for a toilet rebate:
More water conservation strategies for residents, businesses, schools and local governments are available on the Metro Water District’s water conservation website, www.mydropcounts.org.