Governing Board Modifies Turfgrass Restrictions for Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties

Residents Urged to “Skip a Week” of Irrigation During Cooler Months

Skip a Week logo and map

The District’s Governing Board voted in December to modify the tightened turfgrass restrictions for Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, which will allow builders to sod and residents to replace lawns under a specific set of conditions.

The move comes after District staff met with members of the sod industry to discuss solutions to the extreme water shortage in the Tampa Bay area and the serious economic conditions affecting the sod industry. The modifications made to the new sod and turfgrass renovation restrictions were based on suggestions from that meeting.

“We are experiencing two serious conditions: the extreme water shortage in the Tampa Bay area and the dramatic downturn in the economy,” said Richard Owen, District deputy executive director. “We met with the sod industry and believe we came up with a solution that will continue to save water while allowing the sod industry to remain in business.”

The modifications apply to both new construction and lawn replacement (sod, plugs and other turfgrass material). The changes include:

  • Restricting the new construction and turfgrass replacement establishment period to 30 days total.
  • On days 1–15, beginning the day of installation, the new or replacement turfgrass may be watered every day of the week.
  • On days 16–30, the new or replacement turfgrass may be watered approximately every other day. Unless otherwise specified by a local ordinance, even-numbered addresses may only water on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Odd-numbered addresses may only water on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

The tightened water restrictions for Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties are in effect through June 30, 2009. The Governing Board enacted these measures in October after Tampa Bay Water, the region’s wholesale water supplier, requested the District’s assistance because its water supplies have not returned to pre-drought conditions.

All other counties within the District are under one-day-per-week lawn watering restrictions through Feb. 27, 2009. Residents should check with their local government or water utility for their designated watering day.

Voluntary Conservation

In addition to continuing to restrict lawn watering to one day per week, the District is also urging residents in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties to “skip a week” of irrigation during the cooler months of December, January and February.

According to research by the University of Florida, grass doesn’t need to be watered as often during the cooler months. In fact, three-quarters of an inch of water every 10–14 days is sufficient.

Homeowners can determine when their grass needs water when:

  • Grass blades are folded in half on 30 percent of the lawn.
  • Grass blades are blue-gray.
  • A footprint remains on the lawn for several minutes after walking on it.

For more water conservation tips, information about the drought and the current water restrictions, please visit the District’s web site at or call 1-800-423-1476, ext. 4498, during normal business hours.