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Level 1 Drought Declaration for 53 counties in GeorgiaWater is Precious

We've had a warm summer in the Atlanta area. Atlanta has seen more than 80 total 90-degree-days this year, which is a near record! The most number of  90-degree-days on record for Atlanta is 90 from 2011 and 1980. According to usclimatedata.com average annual rainfall in Atlanta is 49.74 inches.

However, since the beginning of June, rainfall measurements are running 25 percent of normal in places across the Southeast. Warm temperatures and the lack of precipitation continue to dry out the top soils thus stressing vegetation. So, on September 9, 2016, The Director of Georgia Environmental Protection Division issued a Level 1 Drought Declaration for 53 counties in Georgia. Currently, all Georgians may only water lawns and landscapes between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. But if the state officially declares a drought, the following restrictions kick in:

Level One drought: Requires public water systems to educate customers about conditions and encourages conservation.

Level Two drought: Limits outdoor watering to two days a week on an odd-even schedule with no water for outdoor fountains, car washes or power washing of homes.

Level Three drought: Prohibits all outdoor irrigation of landscapes. Food gardens may be watered during designated hours and golf course irrigation is limited.

The following exemptions are from the Outdoor Watering Restrictions:

  • Commercial agricultural operations as defined in Code Section 1-3-3;
  • Capture and reuse of cooling system condensate or storm water in compliance with applicable local ordinances and state guidelines;
  • Reuse of gray water in compliance with Code Section 31-3-5.2 and applicable local board of health regulations adopted pursuant thereto;
  • Use of reclaimed waste water by a designated user from a system permitted by the Environmental Protection Division of the department to provide reclaimed waste water;
  • Irrigation of personal food gardens;
  • Irrigation of new and replanted plant, seed, or turf in landscapes, golf courses, or sports turf fields during installation and for a period of 30 days immediately following the date of installation;
  • Drip irrigation or irrigation using soaker hoses;
  • Hand watering with a hose with automatic cutoff or handheld container;
  • Use of water withdrawn from private water wells or surface water by an owner or operator of property if such well or surface water is on said property;
  • Irrigation of horticultural crops held for sale, resale, or installation;
  • Irrigation of athletic fields, golf courses, or public turf grass recreational areas;
  • Installation, maintenance, or calibration of irrigation systems; or
  • Hydro seeding.

So, here are a few tips!

Indoor Water Conservation

  • sprite-7Fix leaks! Watch your water meter. Faucets can drip at a rate of one drop per second, wasting more than 3,000 gallons of water a year. Toilets can leak at a rate of 200 gallons a day, which can add up to 73,050 gallons of water a year.
  • Consider shorter showers with a water saving shower head to reduce the flow.
  • Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth saves up to eight gallons of water per day, 240 gallons a month, 2,880 gallons a year.
  • Wash only full loads of laundry or use the appropriate load size selection on the washing machine to save water.
  • Consider new high-efficiency toilet installation. You could save a family of four more than $90 on their water bill annually, $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilet.

Outdoor Water Conservation

  • Water efficiently! Over-watering is wasteful, and it can harm plants.
  • Target water to plants that show signs of moisture stress.
  • Water deeply. Light, frequent watering causes shallow rooting and increases the need for water.

Soaker Hose

  • Use drip irrigation, soaker hoses and micro-sprays when possible.
  • Have a regular system audit performed by a professional on in-ground systems.
  • Organic matter such as compost added to the soil holds water, aids plant nutrition and reduces soil erosion.
  • Mulch holds moisture in the soil. Apply pine straw, shredded hardwood or bark mulch three inches deep.
  • Harvest water from rain barrels or cisterns and use it to irrigate plants.

Do your part to help conservation efforts. Report

  • Visible leaks running without repair,
  • Misdirected sprinklers watering pavement and impermeable objects,
  • Broken or missing sprinkler heads causing excessive runoff

To find out more about.outdoor watering rules and best practices or alert water efficiency
teams in your county or city:

Fulton County 404-612-8745
Cobb County 770-419-6244
Gwinnett County 678-376-6700
Forsyth County 770-781-2160
Cherokee County 770-479-1813
Dekalb County 404- 378- 4475
Rockdale County 770-278-7450
Clayton County 770- 960-5200
City of Decatur 404-378-4475
City of Marietta 770-794-5229
City of Roswell 770-641-3742
City of Atlanta 404-546-0311
City of Conyers 770-278-7450

Make It a No Fear Autumn.

Peggy La Cerra
mental health

Now that the sultriest days of summer have passed, most of us are ready to begin shifting back into high gear -- taking on new work projects, bearing down on classes, and making early preparations for the holidays. But with life morphing so quickly and with the constant barrage of information to which most of us are exposed every day, even a little bit of this seasonal self-acceleration can lead to that creeping feeling of anxiety.

At some point in our lives, one in three of us will suffer a bona fide anxiety disorder -- a condition severe enough to require medical attention, with symptoms ranging from a dry mouth and sweaty palms to fast, shallow breathing, insomnia, and a racing heart. Currently, 40 million Americans are being medically treated for this condition, and the problem increased every year over the last two decades. Certainly meditation, yoga, and regular exercise, as well as eating a healthful, nutrient-rich diet and eliminating caffeine, can help keep anxiety and fear at bay. But many people get some immediate relief from simply recognizing that anxiety is the natural expression of a neural "threat detection system" that gets too easily tripped in our contemporary culture.

Here's how it works:
The set of cues that trips our threat-detection mechanisms is specific to our species. Rats, for example, are predisposed to fear well-illuminated areas, open spaces, and the smell of cats and other potential predators. Humans, on the other hand, evolved to fear high places, dark places, the smell of predators, the sight of snakes and spiders, sudden loud sounds, and approaching strangers, especially those with angry faces. These cues set off alarm signals in our intelligence system and initiate fight-or-flight responses. And it is these signals and responses that the medical community categorizes as symptoms of anxiety.

The point to remember is that we humans have the deluxe animalia threat-detection system, which is both a blessing and a curse. Our threat detector can be triggered not just by  evolutionarily primed stimuli, such as high places and angry faces, but from triggers we gain from experience, as well as from any stimulus that our brain associates with one of these threats. For example, after petting a pretty Portuguese man-of-war as a child, I never did it again -- and that is a clear blessing. But I also cannot listen to "Singing in the rain" without recoiling from the association of extreme violence of the film A Clockwork Orange, which used the song in its soundtrack -- and that's a shame.

The problem keeps getting worse. especially since the advent of the information age, most of us have been continuously bombarded with both meaningful and pseudo-meaningful messages from advertisers, newscasters, movie makers, politicians, activists, and yes, even religious and spiritual leaders -- messages that have been crafted to urgently motivate us to do things that serve someone else's purpose. Whether or not this information is actually relevant to our lives, our minds have evolved to try to make sense of it in terms of both our personal and evolutionary history and then to generate an appropriate emotional state for the behavior it prompts. As a result of this barrage, many of us now live as if we're in an airport with the threat detection system set on "orange." When we live that that way, a change of seasons can push us into the "red" -- and a full-blown anxiety attack.

Mindset Concept

Our task is to become critical thinkers and learn to sort our incoming messages into one of three categories: those that truly are of concern to us, those that are being imposed upon us for the purpose of advancing some other person's goals, and those we simply need to avoid. Armed with knowledge, a meditation practice, and a spiritual path, nothing can shake us.

Copyright

Precision Lawn Care, Inc. 2016