Recent articles

January 9, 2007

Southwest Florida Water Management District Executive Director David L. Moore today declared a modified Phase II Severe Water Shortage which restricts lawn watering to one-day-per-week throughout the 16-county District.

The restrictions apply to the use of water from public and private water utilities as well as the use of all wells and surface water sources (ponds, rivers, etc.). The order goes into effect January 16 and remains in place until July 31 unless otherwise modified or rescinded by the executive director or the District Governing Board.

“It’s disturbing to see such low water levels this early in the dry season. We need to act now to be prepared for the spring when water levels are at their lowest prior to the rainy season,” Moore said. “We need everyone’s help to do what they can to preserve our precious water resources. Working together we can meet our water supply challenges while also protecting the environment.”

The decision followed a lengthy presentation by staff outlining the depressed hydrologic conditions in the District.

Every county in the District is experiencing some water resource impacts as a result of lack of rainfall over the last year. Some of the hydrologic indicators used to support the water shortage declaration included:

  • Average District deficit rainfall of 11.6 inches in 2006;
  • As of Jan. 3, abnormally low groundwater conditions existed in portions of 15 of the sixteen counties within the District;
  • Below normal streamflow was measured in most of our rivers, including those associated with the District’s three largest public supply systems that depend heavily on surface water supplies (Tampa Bay Water, city of Tampa, and Peace River/Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority);
  • As of Dec. 26, all sixteen counties in the District were experiencing drought or abnormally dry conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor;
  • As of December, all sixteen counties in the District were experiencing drought conditions affecting irrigation water demand, according to the Long-Term Palmer Index, an agricultural drought assessment tool.
  • The following is a summary of the restrictions. For complete details, review Water Shortage Order SWF 07-02 and the District’s Water Shortage Plan on the District’s web site, The temporary modification that the Water Shortage Order makes to “Phase II” restrictions as stated in the Water Shortage Plan is to extend the once-per-week lawn watering schedule to July 31 instead of it only being in effect during the winter months. This change was recommended by staff to address the uncertainty in current weather forecasts.

    Lawn & Landscape Watering

    • If your city or county already has a once-per-week schedule in effect, your watering day will remain the same.

    • If you were previously allowed to follow a twice-per-week schedule, you now need to follow the schedule shown below.

    • 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.

    • Variances are available if a property proposes an alternative irrigation plan (such as splitting a large property into two pieces and assigning a different day to each piece).

    • Handwatering or microirrigation of non-lawn landscape is allowed.

    • Certain exemptions are available, such as allowances for new plant material.

    Addresses (house numbers) ending in the following numbers may only irrigate on:

    Ending in 0 or 1 Monday
    Ending in 2 or 3 Tuesday
    Ending in 4 or 5 Wednesday
    Ending in 6 or 7 Thursday
    Ending in 8 or 9 Friday

    Local Governments & Water Utilities

    • Assist the District with water shortage restriction enforcement, including “any time” coverage for cases referred by the District (when a Water Use Permit is not involved).
    • Review the availability of backup water supplies for potable and fire-fighting purposes.
    • Institute/accelerate local water conservation efforts, including a water system audit.
    • Implement appropriate changes to water system flushing, including on-site signage.

    Golf Courses, Agricultural Operations & Other Water Users

    • Fountains and other aesthetic-only water features may only operate 8 hours per day.
    • Car washing is limited to once per week; fundraiser events are still allowed.
    • Comply with all Water Use Permit conditions, including allowable drought quantities.
    • Reduce off-site discharge and mobile equipment washing.
    • Follow applicable best management practices, including watering times and applications.

    For complete details or to ask questions about these restrictions, visit the District’s website ( or call 1-800-848-0499 or 1-800-423-1476, extension 4498, during normal business hours.

Southwest Florida Water Management District home page

Home Page  •  Who We Are & What We Do  •  Search & Site Map  •  Contact Us  •  Privacy & Disclaimer  •  © Copyright  •  pdf Download PDF Reader