District Increases Water Restrictions for Northern Counties, Extends Current Restrictions Elsewhere

Five counties within the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s region are now under a Modified Phase III water shortage order due to below-normal rainfall this winter.

The District’s Governing Board voted last month to declare the Phase III order for northern counties in the District’s region, which are: Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Levy, and Sumter as well as the City of Dunnellon and The Villages in Marion County. A Modified Phase I alert remains in effect for the remaining counties in the District’s region.

Under Phase III, lawn and landscape watering is reduced to once per week on a specified day based on address. Micro-irrigation and hand watering of non-lawn areas still are allowed any day; but like all irrigation, it must occur before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

Groundwater and surface water conditions continue to experience a downward trend based on lack of rainfall. Generally, conditions are worse in the five most northern counties than other regions of the District.

“Groundwater levels have been critically below normal for more than 12 weeks now, and river and lake levels are so low that some boat ramps have been closed,” said Lois Sorensen, District demand management program manager. “Everyone needs to do their part.”

Counties remaining under the Phase I order continue to follow the District’s year-round water conservation measures. That means lawn and landscape watering remains limited to a two-day-per-week schedule and residents only may water before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

Phase I counties are: Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota.

However, some local governments under Phase I have stricter local ordinances limiting watering to one day per week. Residents should check with their local government or utility.

For additional information about water restrictions and water conservation, please contact your local utility or visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/restrictions/.

Modified Phase III (Extreme) Facts

Here are some of the restrictions involving lawns and landscaping during the Modified Phase III water shortage. For a complete list of restrictions, visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/restrictions.

Map displaying areas of water restrictions

Lawn Watering Schedule and Times

Lawn watering is limited to a once-per-week schedule. The following is a schedule and summary of the restrictions unless your city or county has a different once-per-week schedule or more stringent restrictions.

Unless your city or county already has stricter hours in effect, the allowable watering hours are before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. regardless of property size.

Landscape Watering Schedule and Times

Hand watering and micro-irrigation of plants (other than lawns) can be done on any day, but is limited to the hours of before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

New Lawns & Plants

New lawns and plants have a 60-day establishment period. On days 1–30, they may be watered any day of the week. During days 31–60, they may be watered approximately every other day. Even-numbered addresses may water on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Odd-numbered addresses may be watered on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

chart listing days watering is allowed for specific addresses