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Statesboro and Bulloch County officials urge residents to abide by state water restrictions
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With the sizzling heat of summer ahead and as the state falls deeper into a drought that has gripped much of the southeast, Georgia officials have enacted outdoor watering restrictions in an effort to conserve water.
    Put in place in April, watering is only allowed between midnight and 10 a.m. on certain days - Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays for even-numbered addresses and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays for odd-numbered address - while prohibiting outdoor watering for everyone on Fridays.
    Those restrictions are part of the "level two drought response" imposed by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
    Statesboro and Bulloch County officials are urging residents to abide by the regulations put in place by the state.
    "I think our people, for the most part, are adhering to the restrictions," Statesboro Mayor Bill Hatcher said. "I think we all understand and appreciate how important it is to conserve water, especially when we have a dry period like this. If we don't have water, we're in bad shape."
    Hatcher said the city's police department isn't out looking for violators of the watering restrictions and hopes the residents will act in a responsible manner.
    Bulloch County Manager Tom Couch, meanwhile, said the county doesn't have a water system and can't enforce any of the regulations set forth by the state. Instead, he said the county has to rely on the state to monitor outdoor water use.
    "We don't have the mechanisms in place for enforcement," he said. "We're in a lurch in terms of enforcement. We have to rely on private citizens and water systems to follow the state guidelines."
    A few places in Georgia, including Putnam County and Haralson County have banned outdoor watering in all instances. Atlanta has banned all outdoor water use from Monday through Friday.
    Statesboro and Bulloch County are in what the National Weather Service has termed a "severe drought" said Mike Fuori, meteorologist for WSAV-TV in Savannah.
    "It's that kind of situation across the entire state," he said.
    Fuori said it's difficult to tell if the state will emerge from the lack of precipitation and largely depends on the number of tropical storms and hurricanes that come through the state.
    "As bad as they are, the southeastern United States depends on them for the rainfall we normally get," he said. "They don't have to hit us directly. They could come in from Texas or Louisiana and move across our area."
    He also said the lack of rainfall could lead to higher temperatures during the summer. However, it would not feel as hot because the lack of humidity in the air would keep the heat index lower.
    Fuori likened it to the desert regions of the southwest in which there were warmer days, but cooler nights.
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