Sonny Perdue announced this morning that the state will allow hand watering on landscaping and flower gardens for 25 minutes a day, between midnight and 10 a.m., on a three-day-a-week schedule. Watering with sprinklers or other devices is still banned Also, new professionally-installed landscaping can be watered up to three days a week from midnight to 10 a.m., for up to 10 weeks. Anyone wishing to water new professionally-installed landscaping is required to take an online class at the Urban Agriculture Council's Web site, www.urbanagcouncil.com. On the three-day schedule, odd-numbered addresses can water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and even-numbered addresses can water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Cities and counties could ignore Perdue's action and opt instead to continue enforcing the near-total ban on outdoor watering. But the governor called on the local governments to "work with us to allow these exemptions." Perdue also announced the state-mandated 10 percent reduction in all water use will continue, but starting April 1 the calculation will be based on summertime use from April to September. Summertime use can be up to twice as much as wintertime use, mostly due to lawn watering. Speaking to the Georgia Agribusiness Council's annual legislative breakfast in downtown Atlanta, Perdue said easing the outdoor watering restrictions later this spring should revive the landscaping industry and its $8 billion contribution to Georgia's economy. "Frankly, this industry did more than its share in bearing the brunt of the watering restrictions last fall," Perdue said. "We're really hurting an industry that has really done well." **I am happy because this will give homeowners confidence to want spring and summer color, and new installs of trees and shrubs. I got my fingers crossed that we can keep getting those spot storms throughout the year just to keep the lawns green, but at least we can now water trees, shrubs and flowers.