July 18, 2024

Citrus Times

When Local News Matters To You

Water shortage order remains in effect districtwide

3 min read

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) Governing Board voted today to extend one-day-per-week watering restrictions again for Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties until September 1.

This also includes the existing water shortage order currently in effect for Citrus, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Manatee, Polk, Sarasota and Sumter counties; portions of Charlotte, Highlands and Lake counties; the City of Dunnellon and The Villages in Marion County; and the portion of Gasparilla Island in Lee County.

The District Governing Board declared a Modified Phase I Water Shortage Order in November 2023 and voted to extend that order in February.

Despite having Districtwide above-average rainfall during the winter months (Nov.-Jan.), we still have a Districtwide 12-month rainfall deficit of about 7.4 inches (based on data through May). The 12-month rainfall total through May in the Northern Region of the District matches the historical average, while it is below average in the Southern and the Central regions, which includes the Tampa Bay area. June rainfall through June 19 is near the historical average in the Southern Region of the District, while it is below average in the Northern and Central regions. Additionally, Tampa Bay Water’s 15.5-billion-gallon C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir is still approximately 12.5 billion gallons below its capacity.

As a reminder, the Modified Phase I Water Shortage Order does not change allowable watering schedules for most counties, however, it does prohibit “wasteful and unnecessary” water use and twice-per-week lawn watering schedules remain in effect except where stricter measures have been imposed by local governments. Residents are asked to check their irrigation systems to ensure they are working properly. This means testing and repairing broken pipes and leaks and fixing damaged or tilted sprinkler heads. Residents should also check their irrigation timer to ensure the settings are correct and the rain sensor is working properly.

Once-per-week lawn watering days and times are as follows unless your city or county has a different schedule or stricter hours in effect (Citrus, Hernando and Sarasota counties, and the cities of Dunedin and Venice, have local ordinances that remain on one-day-per-week schedules):

  • If your address (house number) ends in…
  • …0 or 1, water only on Monday
  • …2 or 3, water only on Tuesday
  • …4 or 5, water only on Wednesday
  • …6 or 7, water only on Thursday
  • …8 or 9*, water only on Friday

* and locations without a discernible address

  • Unless your city or county already has stricter hours in effect, properties under two acres in size may only water before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
  • Unless your city or county already has stricter hours in effect, properties two acres or larger may only water before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.
  • Low-volume watering of plants and shrubs (micro-irrigation, soaker hoses, hand watering) is allowed any day and any time.

The order also requires local utilities to review and implement procedures for enforcing year-round water conservation measures and water shortage restrictions, including reporting enforcement activity to the District.

For additional information about the Modified Phase I Water Shortage Order, visit the District’s website WaterMatters.org/Restrictions. For water conserving tips, visit WaterMatters.org/Water101.

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