New Outdoor Water Use Rules

Sheryl Wells, University of Georgia

Biological and Agricultural Engineering


New outdoor water use rules were recently created and are part of the Georgia Water Stewardship Act (Senate Bill 370).  According to Governor Purdue, “The Water Stewardship Act is the next step forward as we continue building a statewide culture of conservation”.    Water conservation is critical as population growth increases and can be achieved through efficient outdoor water use and implementing “Best Management Practices” in the landscape.  It is our responsibility to be stewards of water, which is our most important resource, by protecting it for future generations.


Outdoor Water Use Rules became effective June 1, 2010 and are as follows:

  • Between the hours of 4pm and 10am persons may irrigate outdoors daily for purposes of planting, growing, managing, or maintaining ground cover, trees, shrubs, or other plants.


  • There are no time limits/restrictions on the following outdoor water use:

Ř      Commercial agricultural operations

Ř      Capture and reuse of cooling system condensate or storm water in compliance with applicable local ordinances and state guidelines

Ř      Reuse of gray water when used in compliance with state and local regulations

Ř      Use of reclaimed waste water by a designated user from a system permitted by EPD

Ř      Irrigation of personal food gardens

Ř      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

Ř      Drip irrigation or irrigation using soaker hoses

Ř      Handwatering with a hose with automatic cutoff or handheld container

Ř      Use of water withdrawn from private water wells or surface water by an owner or operator of property if such well or surface water is on said property

Ř      Irrigation of horticultural crops held for sale, resale, or installation

Ř      Irrigation of athletic fields, golf courses, or public turf grass recreational areas

Ř      Installation, maintenance, or calibration of irrigation systems

Ř      Hydroseeding


For more information:


Best Management Practices for Landscape Water Conservation from UGA Extension -


Outdoor Water Use Information from Georgia Environmental Protection Division  -


Dr. Teri Hamlin
North Region Agriculture Education
Georgia Department of Education
204C Four Towers University of Georgia
Athens, Ga 30602
706-542-3679 / 706-540-0032
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