Despite the fact that Haralson County logged several inches of rain last month, residents may be surprised to learn that most of Georgia is still suffering in drought conditions. In fact, Haralson County and much of the surrounding area remains in Severe Drought conditions, according to the National Weather Service.
According to the Haralson County Water Plant, their rain gauges measured 9 inches of precipitation for the month of July. However, because the rainfall was a result of scattered thunderstorms and showers, not all of the county saw this kind of precipitation.
According to Haralson County Water Authority Director Charlie Walker, the Tallapoosa River was on the rise during all that rain.
“For the most part, because the ground was so hard, we had a lot of runoff,” Walker said. “It raised the river 4 to 5 inches, but that doesn’t last. Now, we’re pretty much back to where we were before the rain.”
Walker said though it’s leveling out, the county isn’t as dependent as it used to be on the river’s volume.
“We don’t have to rely on the river as heavily as we used to,” Walker says, “because we’re bringing water in from Alabama, and we have the wells.”
The Haralson County Water Authority made an agreement with Anniston, Ala., 18 months ago to tap into their water supply to supplement the county’s water. However, Walker says they are pumping their minimum amount from Anniston.
“All we’re taking from the line is our minimum allotment,” Walker says. “We’re not even using our surplus.”
Walker also reported that movement is slow but sure on acquiring permits for a Haralson County water reservoir.
In the next 60 days, the Water Authority expects to select the future site of the reservoir and file their application with the state for that site. Initially, six sites were evaluated and researched as possible locations for the reservoir, which is a requirement of the Army Corp. of Engineers.
“All six sites have to be thoroughly evaluated before we choose our preferred alternate,” Walker said. “It’s a slow process, but you have to be thorough.”
Walker says that, based on growth projections, the future reservoir will help the Water Authority provide 9 million gallons of water a day to Haralson County residents by 2060. The Water Authority currently pumps 2.5 million gallons a day.
Though the forecasts provided by the National Weather Service are unclear when it comes to the amount of precipitation the area will receive in the coming months, they do predict above normal temperatures, which means people will be tempted to use more water. However, residents are urged to keep water restrictions in mind.
The odd/even watering schedule is still in effect for the entire state of Georgia under the Georgia Water Stewardship Act, which has been in effect since June 2, 2010. Under the act, odd-numbered addresses may water on Tuesday, Thursdays and Sundays. Even-numbered and unnumbered addresses are allowed to water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. There is no watering allowed on Fridays.
The Act allows for watering between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. for purposes of planting, growing, managing or maintaining ground cover, trees, shrubs, or other plants.
According to the EPD, watering outdoors for any purpose other than watering plants, such as filling pools or washing cars, is restricted to the odd/even watering schedule.