The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board voted today to increase water restrictions throughout the region. The modified Phase III water shortage order affects counties throughout the District’s boundaries: Charlotte, Citrus, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota and Sumter. The restrictions start June 5.
District hydrologists report a rainfall deficit of 11 inches since the start of the dry season in October. In fact, this is the driest dry season in the past 103 years.
Under the new water shortage order, 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 now limits on car washing and homeowners’ associations may not enforce any deed restrictions which could cause an increase in water use. The restrictions will remain in effect through Aug. 1, 2017. 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 considers both natural water resource conditions and the viability of public supply when deciding to declare a water shortage order. For the past 20 years, the District has worked diligently with its partners to develop alternative water supplies. Even though the region is experiencing drought conditions, there is adequate public water supply available.
The District encourages water conservation year-round, and offers many tips to reduce water use and additional information at WaterMatters.org/Conservation.