Due to lingering drought effects and water resources not recovering as quickly as other areas, the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board voted today to maintain once-per-week lawn watering and other restrictions in the District’s northern region, which includes Citrus, Hernando, Levy and portions of Lake, Marion and Sumter counties. This order in Marion County would be limited to the city of Dunnellon and the area encompassed by The Villages because the District has an Interagency Agreement with the St. Johns River Water Management District. The restrictions for the District’s northern region will remain in effect through Oct. 1, 2017.
The “modified phase III” water shortage order the board enacted in May will expire on Aug. 1, 2017 for the remainder of the District, including: Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties. This means a twice-per-week watering schedule and other more flexible provisions of the District’s year-round water conservation measures will go back into effect, unless prohibited by a more stringent local ordinance (such as portions of Pasco and Sarasota counties).
Under the modified phase III restrictions, lawn watering is reduced to once-per-week and allowable watering hours also are reduced. Micro-irrigation and hand watering of non-lawn areas are still allowed any day, if needed. Additionally, there are limits on car washing and homeowners’ associations may not enforce any deed restrictions which could cause an increase in water use. Additional details regarding the watering of new lawns and plants, reclaimed water and other water uses can be found at WaterMatters.org/restrictions.
The District considerers both natural water resource conditions and the viability of public supply when deciding to declare, modify, or remove a water shortage order. For the past 20 years, the District has worked diligently with its partners to develop alternative water supplies.
The District encourages water conservation year-round, and offers many tips to reduce water use and additional information at WaterMatters.org/conservation.