Governing Board to Meet in Brooksville

The Southwest Florida Water Management District will hold its monthly meeting Tuesday, April 27, at 9 a.m. at District Headquarters, located at 2379 Broad Street in Brooksville. The meeting is open to the public however, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines will be followed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and facemasks are required inside District buildings.

To view the Governing Board meeting online, click on the live video stream link. The video stream link becomes active and the live video feed begins approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled meeting time.

If you would like to provide input and watch the meeting remotely, please use the Zoom option rather than the traditional livestream. You will need to register in Zoom and receive information to connect as an attendee by clicking here to register. You will be taken to a page to complete information to help the District ensure you have an opportunity to speak on the correct agenda item. Each registration is unique for each connection. The District recommends using the Chrome browser and downloading the Zoom application for optimal performance.

A backup telephone only option is available if you have trouble connecting to the Zoom meeting. Call in at 1-888-585-9008 or 657-220-3242 (toll call), then enter conference room number 346-054-201. If possible, please use a landline for the best connection. Please do not use speakerphone or put your phone on hold.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Chair will ask if anyone from the public wishes to speak. A staff member will take your name and the topic you wish to speak about through the chat option on Zoom or the backup telephone option above. The staff member will create a blue card to be used by the Chair to call on you at the appropriate time during the meeting.

The meeting agenda and materials are posted one week before the meeting and can be found online at WaterMatters.org by clicking on the “Go to District Calendar.”

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Lower Your Monthly Water Bill for Water Conservation Month

We’re halfway through Water Conservation Month, and the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) encourages residents to do their part to save water in and around their homes.

Here’s more water saving tips to lower your monthly water bill and save hundreds of gallons of water:

  • Ensure rain sensors are operating properly. Irrigating during or after significant rainfall is a major cause of outdoor water waste and can cost you money.
  • Check that all irrigation spray nozzles, or sprinklers, are irrigating areas efficiently and effectively. Check for broken leaky heads and reduce overspray. Inspection and maintenance should be done quarterly.
  • Upgrade to a WaterSense labeled smart irrigation controller, which can reduce irrigation use by up to 23% and put more money back in your pocket.
  • Switch to WaterSense labeled products including indoor showerheads, bathroom facets and toilets to save hundreds of gallons of water a week.
  • Consider updating appliances like dishwashers and washing machines to Energy Star rated products. This can significantly cut back your water use.
  • Check with your water utility for rebates and incentives.

For more information about water conservation, please visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/Conservation.

 

10 Tips to Save Water for Water Conservation Month

While the Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) encourages water conservation year-round, there is extra emphasis each April for Water Conservation Month. April is historically one of the driest months of the year and typically marks the peak demand season for public water suppliers.

With these 10 simple tips, you can lower your monthly water bill and do your part to save hundreds of gallons of water:

INDOOR

  • Only run your washing machine and dishwasher when they are full.
  • Use the shortest clothes washing cycle for lightly soiled loads; normal and permanent-press wash cycles use more water.
  • Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator or microwave, not under running water.
  • Scrape, don’t rinse, your dishes before loading in the dishwasher.
  • Install high-efficiency showerheads, faucets and toilets.

OUTDOOR

  • Check your home’s irrigation system for leaks.
  • Turn off your irrigation system and only water as needed.
  • Don’t leave sprinklers unattended. Use a kitchen timer to remind yourself to turn sprinklers off.
  • Use a hose with a shut-off nozzle when washing the car.
  • Consider installing a rain barrel with a drip irrigation system for watering your landscaping. Rainwater is free and better for your plants because it doesn’t contain hard minerals.

Leaks are the biggest water waster, both inside and outside of your home. You can use your water meter to check for leaks. Turn off all faucets and water-using appliances and make sure no one uses water during the testing period. Wait for the hot water heater and ice cube makers to refill and for regeneration of water softeners. Go to your water meter and record the current reading. Wait 30 minutes. (Remember, no water should be used during this period.)  Read the meter again. If the reading has changed, you have a leak.

For more information about water conservation, please visit the District’s website at WaterMatters.org/Conservation.

 

Governing Board Proclaims April Springs Protection Awareness Month

The Southwest Florida Water Management District's (District) Governing Board declared April Springs Protection Awareness Month during its March meeting. The Governing Board also emphasized that springs are vital to the environment, economy, citizens and visitors of the state.

Earlier this month, the District launched an education campaign to help protect the Weeki Wachee River in Hernando County, which begins at the world-famous springs. The Weeki Wachee River education campaign aims to inform river visitors about the recreational best management practices that will help protect the river and reduce ecological impacts. To learn more about the campaign visit WaterMatters.org/ProtectWeeki.

The District, in partnership with various stakeholders, is committed to implementing studies, projects and programs to conserve and improve the ecological balance of these spring systems, supporting regional economies and quality of life. The District has been a lead technical agency in springs protection and improvement for more than a decade and has taken a comprehensive approach to protect the region’s springs, which includes water conservation, restoration, planning, communication and education, monitoring, research and development, regulation, and land acquisition and management.

There are more than 150 documented springs throughout the 16-county District, with five first-magnitude spring groups that collectively discharge more than 1 billion gallons of water per day.

You can find more information about springs on our website at WaterMatters.org/Springs.

 

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District Announces Success of Northern Tampa Bay Water Use Caution Area Recovery Efforts

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District), in partnership with Tampa Bay Water, announces the successful environmental recovery efforts of the Northern Tampa Bay Water Use Caution Area. The success of the Northern Tampa Bay recovery efforts was detailed at the Governing Board’s February meeting. The Board has concurred that a recovery strategy is no longer required for the area because aquifer levels have rebounded and the health of the lakes and wetlands in the region have recovered or significantly improved.

The District has invested more than $300 million and Tampa Bay Water has invested nearly $2 billion toward this 20-year recovery effort, which has reduced groundwater withdrawals by about 50% and has developed innovative solutions to replace these reductions with alternative water sources, including surface water and desalinated sea water. Most notably, the ecological health of more than 1,300 lakes, wetlands, and other surface waterbodies in the area have recovered or significantly improved and most aquifer water levels are at their highest in four to six decades.

“By all measure, this is such an incredible model of what we can do as a community to reinforce and maintain a healthy environment,” said Governing Board Secretary Rebecca Smith who represents Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. “I just think it’s amazing. A proud moment for our region, for sure.”

“This is the evidence of the value of the water management district working along with Tampa Bay Water,” said Governing Board Chair Kelly Rice. “We look forward to working with Tampa Bay Water for many, many more years.”

Before the Northern Tampa Bay Water Use Caution Area was established in 1989, large amounts of water were permitted and pumped from the region’s wellfields, resulting in lakes and wetlands in the area losing water and, in some cases, drying up completely, which caused significant harm to the natural ecosystem. As a result, Tampa Bay Water was created in 1998 ending the region’s “Water Wars.” The District and Tampa Bay Water worked in partnership to develop a 20-year recovery plan, which included reducing the amount of groundwater withdrawals in the area and developing alternative water sources for the residents of Tampa Bay.

Part of the joint recovery approach included Tampa Bay Water building one of the largest seawater desalination plants in North America located in Apollo Beach, pulling water from various river sources, constructing the 15-billion-gallon C.W. “Bill” Young Regional Reservoir in southern Hillsborough County, installing miles of pipelines to connect systems, and completing a surface water treatment plant. These alternative water resources have been critical in compensating for the reduction in groundwater withdrawals and the rise in demand for water due to population growth in the area. These alternative sources also provide resiliency, allowing Tampa Bay Water flexibility in its water sources.

The District will continue to monitor the Northern Tampa Bay Water Use Caution Area to ensure continued success. Currently, Tampa Bay Water has a consolidated water use permit that includes all 10 wellfields in the area for an annual daily average of 90 million gallons. Tampa Bay Water has submitted a request to renew its consolidated water use permit for another 10 years at the current withdrawal level, which will go to the District’s Governing Board for approval later this year.

District to Temporarily Close the Inglis Bypass Spillway for Data Collection

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) and its contractor will collect channel bottom elevations downstream of the Inglis Bypass Spillway water control structure located in Levy County on the Inglis Bypass Channel. The work is  scheduled to take place Tuesday, March 23.

During that time, the water control gates will need to be partially or fully closed. The closure will be during daylight hours and will last for about six hours. The channel downstream of the structure may experience lower than normal water levels at times. Please make plans to protect your boats and other recreational equipment located within the channel during that time.

Data collection downstream of the Inglis Bypass Spillway water control structure is required to develop a detailed three-dimensional surface of the river bottom to support the ongoing -minimum flow study for the Lower Withlacoochee River.

The construction on the Cross Florida Barge Canal project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1965 and 1969 severed the Lower Withlacoochee River, thus requiring the construction of the Inglis Bypass Channel and Spillway to create discharge to the remnant stretch of the Withlacoochee River. The bypass structure was completed in 1970 as part of that project. In 2001, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection contracted with the District to operate and maintain the Inglis Dam and Inglis Bypass Spillway.

For additional questions, please call the District at (352) 796-7211 ext. 4873.