Leaders Urge Water Conservation as Boil Water Advisories Dot County

Local leaders in several Habersham municipalities are urging residents and businesses to do their best to save water after pump systems across the county were affected by the massive rainfall over the weekend that led to major flooding.

The most recent response to the ongoing recovery from the storm came last night from Mayor Rick Austin and the Demorest City Council. They issued a local state of emergency for the city at a special called council meeting. It’s set to work in conjunction with the previous state of emergency enacted by the county earlier this week. After the council voted it through unanimously, Austin took a moment to praise the work of city staff over the last several days.

"I was out until ten o'clock last night with Brian [Popham]. Those folks have worked their rear ends off," Austin said. "I want to thank our public safety as well. They did things that generally public safety doesn't have to do. They've [dragged] trees, cut trees, washed mud off roads, they've done an awful lot of stuff. We need to be proud of our entire team and so we are. We give you our thanks."

Demorest City Manager Kim Simonds also reminded residents during the meeting that a boil water advisory is still in effect for customers who lost service during the storm. Simonds said that two small areas still remain without water but are on schedule to be fixed by Thursday morning. The city will issue an all clear notice once service has been restored.

Just after 11 a.m., the City of Clarkesville issued its own boil water advisory for customers in the area of Highway 441 and Rennie Hames Road due to a new water tie-in line being installed. The city says a boil water advisory will be in effect once water is restored and until further notice.

As areas across the county still struggle with regaining water service, the City of Cornelia has joined Baldwin, Demorest and Clarkesville in asking citizens to conserve water. In a release Wednesday morning, the city said the water shortage in the area caused by the weekend flooding has affected Cornelia’s ability to help the other water systems with water.

"Conservation efforts will allow Cornelia to continue to help the other water systems with critically depleted water supplies," says Cornelia Public Works Director Keith Etheridge.

Cornelia City Manager Dee Anderson said he was happy that some areas that traditionally encountered flooding had none this time. These areas included Wayside Street, Galloway Street, Hoyt Street and Old Cleveland Road.

"This is attributed to the new infrastructure that has been installed in those areas since we began our Storm Water Program in 2017," Anderson said.