State Relaxes Outdoor Watering Restrictions

On June 2, 2010, Governor Sonny Perdue signed a new state law, the Stewardship Act of 2010, which allows Georgia citizens to water any day of the week regardless of address between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m.  There is no watering between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. during the “heat of the day.”

The new law only relates to landscape uses.  The previous odd/even schedule remains in place for all other outdoor uses like washing vehicles, etc.  Even and unnumbered addresses may use water outdoors for cleaning, recreation, etc. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays; odd addresses may use water for these activities on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.  There are no “hourly” restrictions for these activities. 

 In the case of new landscaping, the same exemption for the first 30 days applies and allows watering at any time.  Additionally, drip irrigation is completely exempt from outdoor water use rules and may be used on any day at any time.

Exemptions to the new hourly restrictions include commercial agriculture; alternative sources of water (grey water, rain water, condensate, etc.); irrigation of food gardens; irrigation of newly installed or reseeded turf for the first 30 days; drip irrigation or soaker hoses; hand watering with a shut off nozzle; water from a private well; irrigation of plants for sale; irrigation of athletic fields, golf courses or public recreational turf; installation and maintenance of irrigation systems; and hydroseeding.  Additionally, commercial operations that use water, like pressure washing businesses, are also exempt from the new watering hours.

 “The new watering hours and days allow residents the flexibility to water their lawns when it is convenient.  But just because you are allowed to water every day does not mean that it is the best solution for your lawn and garden,” said Dalton Utilities spokesperson Lori McDaniel. “Ideally, irrigation should supplement rainfall. Most established landscapes only need to be watered deeply once a week, and if sufficient rain falls in a given week, extra watering is unnecessary and could be harmful to your grass and plants.”

 “We are often asked if car washes are exempt from watering restrictions,” continued McDaniel.  “Commercial car washes – like other commercial operations – are exempt from the restrictions.  However, charity car washes are not.  In fact, charity car washes must follow the odd/even watering schedule established for non-landscape use.”

 For more information on water conservation measures and watering schedules, please visit Dalton Utilities’ website at