Georgia managing water use better
Georgias top environmental official says the state is on track to use less water this year than last year.
Carol Couch said on Friday that the states ability to manage water during the drought is much better this year than last.
The drought prompted officials last year to ban virtually all outdoor watering in the northern part of the state, along with requiring a 10 percent reduction in water usage by utilities in the region.
As summer neared, the state is taking a more case-by-case approach to restrictions.
So far, 24 North Georgia communities have been allowed to relax the strict rules.
More than 200 utilities in the region including all that rely on water from dwindling Lake Lanier are still covered by the restrictions.
Meanwhile, the Army Corps of Engineers said last week it was bracing for stubborn drought conditions and expected them to worsen as the summer wears on.
Although many lakes across the region were refilled during winter and spring rains, several lakes are still well under normal levels and are still dropping.
Corps spokesman Patrick Robbins says that the agency is concerned in particular about Lake Lanier, Atlantas main water source.
The lake is already some 13 feet below normal pool for this time of year, a near record low, and it is expected to drop another 1.3 feet over the new four to five weeks, Mr. Robbins said.
The Corps, which manages regional water resources, has been the target of legal challenges as Georgia, Alabama and Florida tussle over shared reservoirs during the historic drought