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Monday, October 24, 2011 - 10:14am

Drought Forces Community Action

Lake Lanier’s water level stands only nine feet above its historic low of a few years ago. As a new drought tightens its grip on the state, some communities are taking action.

Most of Georgia is now classified as in extreme drought.

Since the devastating drought of 2007 to 2009, the state’s Water Stewardship Act bans outdoor watering from late morning to late afternoon.

Last month, five local jurisdictions received state approval for tougher watering restrictions.

That includes the city of Griffin, which now has a total outdoor watering ban in-place to preserve levels in one of its two reservoirs.

The city’s Director of Public Works, Brant Keller, says he agrees with how the state is overseeing current drought conditions:

“They’re basically letting local jurisdictions manage the resource. I guess that’s probably the best way to do it because not everybody is in the same situation.”

Keller says Griffin’s residents were quick to respond to tougher conservation measures.

Meanwhile, a bait shop owner on Lake Lanier says he’s preparing for his business to drop soon—right along with the reservoir’s levels.

And with drought worsening statewide, Larry Brenner of Oakwood Bait and Tackle wants more to be done at the state level.

“It’s going to be too late again. If we don’t have big rains like we did last time it’s going to take two to three years for the lake to get back to normal again.”

Last month, Governor Nathan Deal asked for and received a federal drought disaster declaration for most of the state.