Ending ‘Level 2 Drought Response’ Could Harm Lake Lanier
Lake Lanier Association Executive Director Joanna Cloud released two statements on August 6, 2017, outlining concerns LLA has regarding how ending Level 2 Drought Response could harm Lake Lanier.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GEPD) released a statement on May 2, 2017 stating, “… it is critical that metro Atlantans follow a Level 2 Drought Response, which allows reasonable outdoor water use while still saving water.”
The Level 2 Drought Response has been in place since November  in the following 12 counties: Cobb, Coweta, Dekalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Lumpkin, Paulding and White counties.
“Lake Lanier is a large reservoir fed by relatively small streams,” added EPD Director Dunn. “Recent rains have provided short-term relief for your landscape, but not enough rainfall to provide significant improvement to Lake Lanier.”
Prohibited outdoor water uses under a Level 2 Drought Response include:
- Washing hard surfaces such as streets and sidewalks.
- Water for ornamental purposes, such as fountains.
- The use of fire hydrants, except for firefighting and public safety.
- Non-commercial washing of vehicles.
- Non-commercial pressure washing.
- Fundraising car washes.
Metro Atlanta is no longer in an officially declared drought. Rainfall in July allowed the US Army Corps of Engineers to curtail water releases from Lake Lanier.
Our friends with the LLA are concerned the GEPD will — from the perspective of LLA — prematurely rescind the restrictions.
By reducing the Drought Level from a Level 2, the signal would be sent to all water users, including residential and commercial, that there is no more need to conserve water while just the opposite is the case. While the drought might be officially over, the impact of the drought is not. The association believes that decisions should be made that retain all available tools to conserve Lake Lanier levels for water supply purposes for all of Metro Atlanta.
The LLA is asking members to “contact the state Environmental Protection Division and urge them to keep the Level 2 Drought Response in place until Lake Lanier gets closer to its full pool,” should members choose to do so.
The Lake Lanier Association says,
The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t consider that residual drought impacts on Lake Lanier can continue for long after the official drought is over since it can take some time for Lake Lanier to regain its full pool water level.
Time is of the essence since the EPD will be making a decision soon.