Georgia eases drought restrictions, but not in Atlanta area

ATLANTA (AP) - Thanks to winter rains, Georgia is loosening water use restrictions in much of the state, but keeping the restrictions intact for most of the Atlanta area.

Georgia's Environmental Protection Division Director Richard Dunn said in a news release that 86 counties across the state either no longer have drought-related water limits or have fewer restrictions.

Twelve counties in north Georgia remain under Level 2 drought response, meaning outdoor watering is limited to two days a week. The area includes Cobb, Dekalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.

State regulators declared 53 counties to be under a Level 1 drought in September. Gov. Nathan Deal extended drought orders to 110 counties in November.

Even when there are no drought-related watering restrictions, outdoor watering is only ever allowed between 4 p.m. and 10 a.m.