February 27, 2024 – Modified Phase I Water Shortage Order remains in effect Districtwide
The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) Governing Board voted today to extend one-day-per-week watering restrictions for Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties until July 1. This extension mirrors the existing water shortage order currently in effect for Citrus, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Manatee, Polk, Sarasota and Sumter counties; portions of Charlotte, Highlands and Lake counties; the City of Dunnellon and The Villages in Marion County; and the portion of Gasparilla Island in Lee County.
Despite having Districtwide above-average rainfall during the winter months (Nov.-Jan.), we still have a 12-month rainfall deficit of about 7.4 inches. While we have seen some short-term improvements with rainfall, most of the Tampa Bay area continues to experience drier-than-normal conditions. Additionally, Tampa Bay Water's (TBW) 15.5-billion-gallon C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir is still approximately 8.5 billion gallons below its normal capacity. The District also approved a request today from TBW to temporarily increase its permitted withdrawals from the Alafia River from 10% to 19% above the baseline flow to store additional water in the reservoir for its use in the coming spring dry season.
As a reminder, the Modified Phase I Water Shortage Order does not change allowable watering schedules for most counties, however, it does prohibit “wasteful and unnecessary” water use and twice-per-week lawn watering schedules remain in effect except where stricter measures have been imposed by local governments. Residents are asked to check their irrigation systems to ensure they are working properly. This means testing and repairing broken pipes and leaks and fixing damaged or tilted sprinkler heads. Residents should also check their irrigation timer to ensure the settings are correct and the rain sensor is working properly.
Once-per-week lawn watering days and times are as follows unless your city or county has a different schedule or stricter hours in effect (Citrus, Hernando and Sarasota counties, and the cities of Dunedin and Venice, have local ordinances that remain on one-day-per-week schedules):
If your address (house number) ends in...
...0 or 1, water only on Monday
...2 or 3, water only on Tuesday
...4 or 5, water only on Wednesday
...6 or 7, water only on Thursday
...8 or 9*, water only on Friday
* and locations without a discernible address
Unless your city or county already has stricter hours in effect, properties under two acres in size may only water before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
Unless your city or county already has stricter hours in effect, properties two acres or larger may only water before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.
Low-volume watering of plants and shrubs (micro-irrigation, soaker hoses, hand watering) is allowed any day and any time.
The order also requires local utilities to review and implement procedures for enforcing year-round water conservation measures and water shortage restrictions, including reporting enforcement activity to the District.
For additional information about the Modified Phase I Water Shortage Order, visit the District’s website WaterMatters.org/Restrictions. For water conserving tips, visit WaterMatters.org/Water101.