Southwest Florida Water Management District Extends Water Restrictions
Rainy Season Not Productive Enough for Resources to Recover
The Southwest Florida Water Management District's Governing Board voted today to extend Phase I water shortage restrictions for the District's entire 16-county area through Feb. 29, 2012, because of a disappointing summer rainy season and an approaching winter that is expected to be drier than normal. The Phase I order is intended as an alert to prepare for worsening conditions. Under Phase I, residents are asked to check their irrigation systems to ensure they are working properly. This means testing and repairing broken pipes and leaks, and damaged or tilted sprinkler heads. Residents should also check their irrigation timers to ensure the settings are correct and the required rain sensors or soil moisture sensors are working properly in accordance with state law. There are no changes to watering days or times in a Phase I water shortage compared to the District's year-round water conservation measures. This means lawn and landscape watering remains limited to a two-day-per-week schedule, and residents may only water before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. Some local governments have stricter local ordinances limiting lawn watering to one day per week or using different watering hours, so residents should always check with their local government or utility before adjusting their irrigation timers. "There were some areas of the District that received heavy rainfall at times, but overall our rainy season was not as productive as we had hoped" said Lois Sorensen, manager of the District's demand management program. "There were improvements in October, but we are expecting a drier-than-normal winter due to the La Nia weather pattern." The region's public water supplies are in relatively good shape, but Sorensen said that caution is in order. "We need to watch conditions closely as the dry season continues and consider stricter measures if water resources or water supply conditions warrant them." Under a Phase I water shortage, local governments and utilities are required to review and revise their watering restriction enforcement procedures and report enforcement activity to the District on a monthly basis. For additional information about water restrictions and water conservation, please contact your local utility or visit the District's website at WaterMatters.org/conservation/. To report a possible violation, call 1-800-848-0499 or email Water.Restrictions@WaterMatters.org.