Water Restrictions Tightened for Tampa Bay

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s executive director declared an emergency order to increase water restrictions including limiting lawn watering to once per week in the Tampa Bay area due to continued drought conditions.

Executive Director Blake Guillory declared a Modified Phase II emergency water shortage order for Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. The order, which begins immediately, takes into account water resource conditions and the fact that Tampa Bay Water recently activated the third level of its local water shortage mitigation plan in response to the water supply.

Under the emergency order, the allowable lawn and landscape watering schedule is reduced to once per week on a specified day based on address. Microirrigation and hand watering of nonlawn areas still are allowed any day; but like all irrigation, such activity must now occur only during designated hours (before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. unless otherwise specified by a stricter local ordinance).

See attached fact sheet for more information about the restrictions.

“This year’s hotter and drier than normal conditions following last year’s below-average rainfall have caused critically low river flows and declining groundwater levels throughout the District,” said Lois Sorensen, District demand management program manager. “Generally, conditions in the Tampa Bay area and counties north are worse than counties in the southern portion of the District.”

Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Levy and Sumter counties as well as the City of Dunnellon and The Villages in Marion County currently are under a Modified Phase III order with more stringent restrictions.

Counties in the southern and eastern portions of the District’s region remain on Modified Phase I restrictions. Those counties are: Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Manatee, Polk and Sarasota.

Counties remaining under the Modified Phase I order continue to follow the District’s year-round water conservation measures. That means lawn and landscape watering remains limited to a two-day-per-week schedule and residents only may water before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

However, some local governments in the Modified Phase I portion of the District have stricter local ordinances limiting watering to one day per week or specifying different watering hours. Residents should check with their local government or water utility for any local schedule.

For additional information about water restrictions and water conservation, please contact your local utility or visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/restrictions/.

TAMPA, FL (May 10, 2012) – Tampa’s water use restrictions tightened today as a result of a modified Phase II Water Shortage Emergency declaration issued by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. Effective immediately, Tampa residents and businesses using City system water, well or surface water may irrigate one day a week only.

“Conditions continue to be drier than normal across the Tampa Bay area and Tampa is being asked to do its part to keep conditions from worsening,” said Brad Baird, Tampa Water Department Director. “As we transition to a once-a-week irrigation schedule, we encourage all residents, businesses, and visitors to voluntarily reduce water consumption and eliminate unnecessary and wasteful water use.”

Tampa locations may irrigate using the following schedule:

* Addresses ending in 0 or 1 may irrigate on Mondays

* Addresses ending in 2 or 3 may irrigate on Tuesdays

* Addresses ending in 4 or 5 may irrigate on Wednesdays

* Addresses ending in 6 or 7 may irrigate on Thursdays

* Addresses ending in 8 or 9 may irrigate on Fridays

Other changes to water use included in the District declaration include:

* Hand-watering and micro-irrigation on non-turf may occur any day but must be completed before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

* Fountains and other aesthetic water features may operate up to four hours per day, as posted.

* Car washing is limited to once per week on the designated watering day for the location.

* Pressure washing for aesthetic purposes is limited to once annually and may be accomplished as needed for necessary purposes only.

The restrictions do not affect locations where otherwise restricted activities are being accomplished with reclaimed water.

Tampa residents are encouraged to review their irrigation practices, to check any timers they may have controlling irrigation on their properties and to ensure that their irrigation system includes a rain sensing device.  Free rain-sensors and other materials and information available to assist customers with identifying leaks, improving the efficiency of their irrigation system and calculating their water use are available to City of Tampa water utility customers on request at www.tampagov.net/savewater.

Tampa’s water use restrictions are enforced inside Tampa city limits 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and extend to all water sources, including well and surface water. Citations are issued on first observance of a violation; no warnings are issued.  Violations of the water use restrictions may result in fines of up to $450 and mandatory court appearances.

Water use restrictions for Tampa Water Department customers residing in unincorporated Hillsborough County are established and enforced by Hillsborough County Water Resource Services. Information on Hillsborough County restrictions is available at (813) 275-7094.

Information about City of Tampa restrictions is available by calling (813) 274-8121 or online at www.TampaGov.net/waterrestrictions.  A recorded summary of the restrictions is available 24-hours-a-day by calling the Water Conservation Hotline at (813) 274-8032. Customers located in Tampa’s reclaimed water service area can call (813) 282-7827 to inquire about service availability.

Be notified automatically about restrictions changes, upcoming workshops, conservation events and other Water Department information by subscribing to the Tampa Water Department’s Customer Newsletter, The Pipeline, at www.tampagov.net/water or the Water Department Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feed available at www.tampagov.net/appl_rss_feeds/