Published on 06/11/09

Georgia emerges from three-year drought

By David Stooksbury
University of Georgia

Thanks to one of the wettest springs in Georgia’s history, the drought that has gripped the state for three years has ended.

March through May was the second wettest spring out of the past 115 in Georgia. The vast majority of the state has been climatological drought-free since March. The exception has been the Lake Lanier and Lake Hartwell basins. Conditions in these basins have continued to improve over the past few months.

Proper drought management requires a period of recharge of the hydrologic systems after the end of the climatological drought.

Soil moisture and stream flows across the state are normal to much above normal for the middle of June.

With the end of the drought, the entire state has returned to the non-drought outdoor watering schedule. This means that odd number addresses can use outdoor water on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Even number addresses may use outdoor water on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

There are no restrictions on the time of outdoor water use. However, watering of plants between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. is discouraged since much of the water evaporates before entering the soil and thus has limited effectiveness.

Proper water use can enhance a landscape. However, improper watering can cause a host of problems. Most lawns will thrive on one inch of water per week. This water can come from either rain or irrigation. Best results are usually obtained if the watering is done once per week.

Additional information on proper watering and care of landscapes is available through your local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office.

Water conservation information is available from Watersmart: Save Water, Save Time, Save Money! at and Conserve Water Georgia at

Additional moisture conditions information and updates can be found at Automated weather data is at Daily rainfall data is at U.S. Geological Survey data is at

David Emory Stooksbury is associate professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.