Conservation FAQ


If I use a low-flow shower head, will I have less water pressure?

No. A low-flow shower head does not mean low pressure. Low-flow shower heads maintain pressure by either aerating, mixing air with, the water or distributing it in short pulses to create more of a massaging effect. By using the one of these two methods, these water efficient shower heads are able to deliver the same amount of pressure as a standard shower head while only using 50 percent of the water.

How can I tell if I need to install faucet or shower head aerators?

To tell if your taps and showers are waterSmart, determine the gallons per minute (GPM) flow rate. Place a bucket under the tap/shower let the water flow for a timed 10 seconds. Measure the amount of water in the bucket and multiply that number by six. If the number you get is higher than 3gpm for showers or 2.5gpm for taps, you can save water by installing aerators or low-flow shower heads.

Is it better to wash dishes by hand or in the dishwasher to save water?

To wash dishes without wasting water, always operate your dishwasher on the short cycle and with a full load. If you need to wash dishes by hand, you should wait until you have a full sink load and then fill your sink with only as much soap and water as needed and wipe your dishes clean of soap and water instead of rinsing them. You should never wash dishes one by one while the water is running.

What is grey water?

Grey water is wastewater that has passed through plumbing generated from domestic processes such as washing dishes, laundry and bathing that has not come into contact with sewage, or black water. Grey water is not approved or recommended as a water source.


What is the current drought level and what does that mean?

To find out the most up-to-date information on drought in your area, we recommend you contact your local water provider.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) issued a non-drought schedule for outdoor water use, permitting outdoor water use in Georgia on assigned days. Odd-numbered addresses can water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Even-numbered and unnumbered addresses can water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Keep in mind, an established lawn only needs about one inch of water every seven to ten days, and over watering can cause shallow root growth. waterSmart encourages you to only water your landscape when necessary, and be sure to water overnight or in the morning between the hours of 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. to maximize effectiveness and reduce evaporation.

Why are watering restrictions placed on outdoor water use?

During times of arid conditions, water supplies are already diminished due to lack of rain and evaporation from the sun. In summer months, outdoor water use can increase average water consumption by more than 60 percent, further stressing water supplies. By limiting activities such as supplemental watering of landscapes and washing the car, you can help make a decreased water supply last longer.

If I see someone violating water use restrictions, who should I call?

To report someone who is violating the current water schedule or restriction, contact your local water provider. If you are not sure who your water provider is, simply look on your water bill.

Why do native plants help my lawn?

Native plants, and specifically drought tolerant natives, are more suited to the natural environment and therefore require less care and watering. Plants that are native to the region in which you live are designed to thrive in that environment naturally. These plants have a much better chance of surviving and helping you maintain a lush landscape, as opposed to a more exotic variety of plant that would not survive without supplemental watering.

Can I use excess water collected from activities such as washing vegetables and use it to water plants?

Yes. Finding ways to collect water that would be otherwise be going down the drain and using it to water your landscape is a waterSmart way to keep your plants hydrated without needing to turn on the hose. Some of the most popular ways to collect water are putting a bucket in the shower, pouring unwanted drinking water (for pets or humans) into a bucket and even using a container to salvage water from the rinse cycle of your washing machine. If you are watering vegetable plants you intend to eat, you should use strong discretion as to the quality of water you are irrigating them with.

What is a rain barrel and where can I get one?

A rain barrel is a rainwater harvesting system that is connected to a downspout from a house or building. By collecting rainwater, you will have a waterSmart source of water to keep your landscape hydrated, regardless of climate conditions or watering restrictions. Rain barrels also help reduce erosion and storm water runoff and increase water quality.

You can either a purchase pre-made rain barrels at your local hardware or garden store or create your own. For more information on creating your own visit

I get my water from a private well, do I have to comply with the outdoor water use schedules?

Private wells (withdrawing less than 100,000 gallons of water a day) are not regulated and therefore they are not subject to local outdoor water use rules. However, if watering restrictions have been put in place, it is in effort to protect a diminished water supply and so it is best if you do your part and follow the watering restrictions for your community.

How can I keep my landscape healthy without using water?

There are many waterSmart gardening practices that will help keep your lawn and garden green without using water, such as:

  • Place a generous layer of mulch such as tree bark or wood chips around root bases of trees and in and around flower beds to help the soil retain moisture.
  • Design turf areas in practical shapes that can be mowed easily - avoid sharp angles and narrow strips that will easily dry out.
  • Fertilize less and use slow-release fertilizers.
  • Leave grass clippings on the turf to help supply recycled nutrients.
  • Raise the mower blade during dry weather. Cutting the grass higher encourages deep rooting, increases turf survival during drought and reduces water demand.
  • Always keep the mower blade sharp.
  • Aerate when required to relieve soil compaction and increase air and water movement into the soil.