Area Returns to Phase III Water Restrictions
In August the District’s Governing Board voted to reduce the water restrictions in the Tampa Bay Water service area from Modified Phase IV (or Critical) to Modified Phase III (or Extreme) for potable water use.
The Board voted to ease the water restrictions because Tampa Bay Water has been able to store 8.3 billion gallons of water in the 15-billion-gallon C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir. However, District staff cautioned that although the immediate crisis is over, the water resources have not recovered from the drought.
“Regional water suppliers like Tampa Bay Water are refilling their water supplies,” said Granville Kinsman, District hydrologic data manager. “However, August rainfall has been below normal and the District’s water resources, such as our aquifers, rivers and lakes, are declining. We need above-normal rainfall for the water resources to fully recover from the effects of the drought.”
District Executive Director Dave Moore added that local governments and residents still need to make water conservation a top priority. One of the simplest and most effective actions residents can take is to turn off their irrigation systems.
“We’re getting enough rainfall that residents don’t need to be watering their lawns,” said Moore. “Residents should be able to turn off their irrigation systems during the rainy season.”
Under the revised Phase III order, lawn watering remains limited to the same once-per-week schedule and is limited to the hours of before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. for properties less than one acre. The restrictions apply to potable and nonpotable water sources. For a complete list of Phase III restrictions, visit the District’s web site at WaterMatters.org/restrictions/. You may also contact your local utility for more information about watering restrictions in your area.
The modified Phase III restrictions apply to everyone in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.
The Phase III restrictions in the Tampa Bay Water and Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority regions will remain in place until Sept. 30, 2009.
The District identifies four possible levels of water shortage, beginning with “moderate” and increasing in intensity through “severe,” “extreme” and “critical.”
With most river flows in the normal range but lake levels remaining below normal, the region’s water shortage status currently ranges from “extreme” to “severe.” The District’s color-coded water shortage alert map graphically identifies the status for each county in the District.
Tampa Bay Region
Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties
Extreme (Red) Alert
All residents in the tri-county Tampa Bay area must follow the District’s Modified Phase III (or Extreme) water shortage restrictions. The region received normal rainfall in July and below-normal rainfall in August. Aquifer levels remain in the normal range. River flows have been declining in recent weeks but remain in the normal range. Lake levels also improved but are still averaging about 1.17 feet below the lowest normal readings.
Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority Region
Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties
Extreme (Red) Alert
he four-county area remains under the District’s Modified Phase III (or Extreme) water shortage restrictions. The region received normal rainfall in July and below-normal rainfall in August. Aquifer levels remain in the low-normal range. Lake levels improved but are still averaging between two and four feet below the lowest normal readings. The flow of the Peace River is declining but is within the normal range. The Authority has 2.6 billion gallons of water in its two reservoirs and aquifer storage and recovery well fields.
Remaining Counties (see map)
Severe (Orange) Alert
The remaining counties in the District continue to follow the District’s Modified Phase II (or Severe) water shortage restrictions. The aquifer is in the normal range; however, some river flows and lakes are still at below-normal levels. The Phase II restrictions were approved by the District’s Governing Board in January 2007 and have been extended several times due to the ongoing drought impacts.
District water restrictions include limiting lawn watering to a maximum of one day per week.
In addition to following restrictions, residents are also urged to continue conserving water in other ways indoors and outdoors at their homes and businesses. Residents should consider turning off their irrigation systems if it rains before their next watering day. With outdoor irrigation accounting for as much as 50 percent of residential water usage, skipping a week of watering can result in a significant water savings.
These restrictions are in effect until Sept. 30, 2009.