District Extends Phase II Water Shortage Order
Effective March 1, 2014
The Extended Order Allows Extra Lawn Watering Day, If Needed
The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board voted today to extend the Phase II Water Shortage in the Tampa Bay; however, the extended order will allow up to two watering days per week.
In December 2013, the Governing Board enacted Phase II restrictions for lawn watering throughout Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, which allowed one day per week lawn watering. The extended order follows a seasonal feature of Phase II which recognizes that reasonable lawn irrigation needs may be higher in spring and summer, when days are longer and temperatures are hotter than the winter months.
Extending the Phase II restrictions through July 31, 2014, allows the lawn watering schedule to increase to twice per week beginning March 1 unless a more stringent local ordinance is in effect (see list below.) However, Phase II local enforcement requirements continue to be in effect and homeowners associations may still not enforce any deed restrictions in a manner which could cause an increase in water use. Micro-irrigation and hand watering of non-lawn areas still are allowed any day, if needed.
In light of ongoing low public supply water storage in the Tampa Bay area and in keeping with Florida-friendly landscaping principles, the District continues to recommend lawn watering only when necessary. The simplest way to determine if your yard needs water is if your grass blades are folded in half lengthwise on at least one-third of your yard, appear blue-gray, or do not spring back, leaving footprints on the lawn for several minutes after walking on it.
District Chairman Carlos Beruff said, “We are asking residents to continue to be prudent with their water use, especially outdoor irrigation, at this time. It’s important to be mindful of our water supply.”
The Tampa Bay area’s major dry season water supply is normally the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir, which is currently under renovation. That means water from the Alafia River and Hillsborough River was not able to be stored in the reservoir during last summer’s rainy season for use during the annual dry season.
Twice-per-week lawn watering schedules remain in effect for Charlotte, Citrus, Desoto, Hardee, Highlands, Lake, Levy, Manatee, Polk and Sumter Counties, also including The City of Dunnellon and The Villages in Marion County. Other portions of Marion County and the City of Ocala follow restrictions set by the St. Johns River Water Management District.
Some local governments such as Hernando, Pasco and Sarasota counties and the cities of Brooksville, Longboat Key and Venice have local ordinances which remain on one-day-per-week restrictions.
For additional information on extending the Phase II water shortage please visit WaterMatters.org/Phase2