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§ 12-5-7. Local Restrictions on Water Use. image description

§ 12-5-7. Local Restrictions on Water Use.

CODE OF GEORGIA

Title 12. CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES

Chapter 5. WATER RESOURCES

Article 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Current through 2017 legislative session, Act 10

§ 12-5-7. Local Restrictions on Water Use

(a)
(1) Any political subdivision of this state or local government authority may, upon application to and approval by the director of the Environmental Protection Division of the department for good cause shown, impose more stringent restrictions on outdoor water use during nondrought periods or state declared periods of drought than those applicable restrictions, if any, imposed by the state during such periods. For purposes of this subsection, "good cause" means evidence sufficient to support a reasonable conclusion, considering available relevant information, that such additional restrictions are necessary and appropriate to avoid or relieve a local water shortage. A variance granted pursuant to this subsection shall be valid for such period as determined by the director.
(2) Paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not prohibit a political subdivision or local government authority from imposing more stringent restrictions on outdoor water use in case of an emergency which immediately threatens the public health, safety, or welfare; provided, however, that such emergency restrictions shall be valid for a period not exceeding seven days unless a variance is granted by the director pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection. If the director determines that a political subdivision or local government authority is exercising emergency powers granted by this paragraph in a manner to circumvent the necessity of obtaining such a variance, he or she may suspend the emergency powers granted by this paragraph to such political subdivision or local government authority.
(3) In the event that a political subdivision of this state or local government authority is unable to satisfy reduced water consumption or other permit requirements under its water withdrawal or operating permit due to its inability under this subsection to impose more stringent restrictions on outdoor water use during periods of drought than those applicable restrictions, if any, imposed by the state, such political subdivision or local government authority shall be exempt from fines, sanctions, or other penalties applicable for such failure upon the approval of the director of the Environmental Protection Division of the department. The director shall consider all measures implemented by such political subdivision or local government authority prior to issuing fines, sanctions, or other penalties applicable, if any, for such failure. The political subdivision or local government authority shall notify the director of the Environmental Protection Division of the department within ten business days following the discovery of such failure. The director may request additional information at any time to substantiate such a claim.
(4) The director of the Environmental Protection Division may revoke, suspend, or modify, upon not less than three days' written notice, a political subdivision's or local government authority's water withdrawal or waste treatment permit issued pursuant to this chapter consistent with the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of this state for violation of paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection or any variance granted pursuant thereto.

(a.1)

(1) Persons may irrigate outdoors daily for purposes of planting, growing, managing, or maintaining ground cover, trees, shrubs, or other plants only between the hours of 4:00 P.M. and 10:00 A.M.
(2) Paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not create any limitation upon the following outdoor water uses:
(A) Commercial agricultural operations as defined in Code Section 1-3-3;
(B) Capture and reuse of cooling system condensate or storm water in compliance with applicable local ordinances and state guidelines;
(C) Reuse of gray water in compliance with Code Section 31-3-5.2 and applicable local board of health regulations adopted pursuant thereto;
(D) 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;
(E) Irrigation of personal food gardens;
(F) 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;
(G) Drip irrigation or irrigation using soaker hoses;
(H) Handwatering with a hose with automatic cutoff or handheld container;
(I) 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;
(J) Irrigation of horticultural crops held for sale, resale, or installation;
(K) Irrigation of athletic fields, golf courses, or public turf grass recreational areas;
(L) Installation, maintenance, or calibration of irrigation systems; or
(M) Hydroseeding.
(3) Governing authorities of counties and municipalities shall adopt the provisions of paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection by ordinance, to become effective not later than January 1, 2011, and violations of such adopted provisions shall be punished as ordinance violations.
(b) Any political subdivision of this state or local government authority may apply for and, upon approval by the director of the Environmental Protection Division of the department for good cause shown, shall be granted an exemption from nonstatutory outdoor watering restrictions or water use reductions imposed by the state. For purposes of this subsection, "good cause" means evidence sufficient to support a reasonable conclusion, considering available relevant information, that such restrictions, reductions, or both are not necessary and appropriate to avoid or relieve a local water shortage. A variance granted pursuant to this subsection shall be valid for such period as determined by the director.
(c) The director shall render a decision on an application made by a political subdivision or local government authority under subsection (a) or (b) of this Code section within five business days after receipt thereof.
(d)
(1) Any permittee who is aggrieved or adversely affected by any order or action of the director of the Environmental Protection Division pursuant to this Code section shall have a right to a hearing pursuant to the provisions of Code Section 12-2-2.
(2) Notwithstanding the stay provisions of subparagraph (c)(2)(B) of Code Section 12-2-2, the filing of a petition for a hearing before an administrative law judge from an action taken pursuant to this Code section stays the order of the director of the Environmental Protection Division for not more than five days and such stay shall automatically be lifted without further action by the director if the petition has not been ruled upon by the end of the fifth day following filing of the petition; provided, however, that the petitioner's right to a hearing remains in full force and effect.

Cite as OCGA § 12-5-7

History. Amended by 2011 Ga. Laws 245, §12, eff. 5/13/2011.

Amended by 2010 Ga. Laws 542, §4, eff. 6/4/2010.

Added by 2008 Ga. Laws 716, §1, eff. 5/14/2008.