The City of Villa Rica is asking all water users to conserve water during this time of drought and is issuing a voluntary outdoor watering ban. This voluntary conservation request is due to the severe lack of rainfall this spring and summer. Precipitation levels fall far short of the amount necessary to replenish the three lakes from which the city draws its water.
Villa Rica is part of a larger swath of northwest Georgia that has entered the most severe category of drought: “exceptional.” The persistent drought conditions led city officials to begin conversations last week with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division about escalating the state’s Level 1 drought alerts for the city, which could mean mandatory restrictions.
The city is potentially weeks away from being without water, but does have a costlier backup thanks to an agreement with the Carroll County Water Authority.
The city is currently subject to Level 1 restrictions, which only requires public water systems to educate customers about conditions and encourages conservation. More severe restrictions are necessary to preserve water use for such critical uses as bathing and food preparation.
The city’s surface water reservoirs are at about 10 feet on the staff gauge that is mounted on an outfall structure. Full pool on this gauge is 13 feet and corresponds to the full pool elevation described in the withdrawal strategy. Based on our strategy chart, the city should be at .5 million gallons a day (mgd) from Lake Cowans and .5 mgd from Lake Fashion. Currently, we are withdrawing .3 mgd from Cowans and 1.0 mgd from Lake Fashion. So the city is some 20-25 days at this rate until the second intake valve is out of the water. At this rate we lose about a tenth of a foot per day in Lake Fashion.
There is a third underwater intake that is buried in silt. Staff is researching using equipment to dig down and uncover the bottom intake, which could yield another 20 days’ water supply at this rate. But once the city pumps down to the bottom intake level, the remaining overall depth in Lake Fashion may be only 2 to 3 feet deep and inevitably will exacerbate complaints from lake property owners.
Here are the other restriction levels that could be imposed with state authority:
Level 2: Limits outdoor watering to two days a week on an odd-even schedule. Even-numbered addresses may water Wednesdays and Saturdays (4 p.m. to 10 a.m.); odd-numbered addresses may water Thursdays and Sundays (4 p.m. to 10 a.m.). No water for outdoor fountains, car-washes or power washing of homes.
Level 3: Prohibits all outdoor irrigation of landscapes. Food gardens may be watered between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. (Soaker hoses and drip irrigation may be used any time.) Hand watering allowed during designated hours. Golf course irrigation limited.
Source: Georgia Environmental Protection Division, City of Villa Rica
City Manager’s Council Presentation: https://goo.gl/J3awuw