Lee County residents deal with water restrictions - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lee County residents deal with water restrictions

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July 14, 2006

Lee County--South Georgia's fastest growing county put the area's most severe watering restrictions in place this week.

Customers who get their water from the Lee County Utilities Authority can now only water sod planted in the last 45 days and gardens.

Horece Johnson can't take care of his yard and plants like he used to.

"We just abide by their rules and regulations," he says. Johnson uses Lee County's water. But an Irrigation Lawn Ban has limited his water usage.

"I have such a large area that I have to water that I can't get over it every other day and work it like I like to do," he says.

"In the month of June, we averaged seventy-seven million gallons pumped for thirty days," says Chris Boswell, with the county's utilities authority.  He says that's just too much water and the county's endanger of running out. Several factors are to blame.

"The growth that we've been experiencing in Lee County over the last five years, that's one," says Boswell.

As well as scorching temperatures.  "We haven't had a significant rain event in probably forty-five to fifty days," he says.

The county's utilities authority currently uses five wells to supply water to its nearly 15,000 customers. To help with the water shortage, it plans to restore one of its old wells in Glenndale and begin building a new well at the county's Industrial Park.

"If people can refrain from watering their lawns then it will give us enough time to get this well up and running, then we will have enough water," he says.

For now, homeowners can only water their gardens and new lawns. While it's an inconvience for many, Johnson understands the importance of conserving water.

"I was raised not to waste a lot of things, and water was one of them," says Johnson.

He doesn't want to see his water supply vanish, and he believes the county is doing everything it can to make sure that doesn't happen.

"I think they have the interest of the homeowners," says Johnson.

After August fifth, homeowners can return to the statewide rotating schedule. Even-numbered addresses can water on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, odd addresses on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.

Anyone who violates the current ban will get a first offense warning. A second offense will result in the loss of water services and a $250 fee to restore it.

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