Starting Dec. 26, Pinellas County residents can water their lawns and landscape plants only once a week according to a set schedule based on address.
Beginning Dec. 26, Pinellas County residents must go back to a once-a-week watering schedule.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board declared a Phase II Water Shortage Dec. 17. Due to reduced river levels and increasing water supply concerns, the board voted to implement one-day-per-week watering restrictions in the Tampa Bay area. Hours when watering is allowed also is reduced.
Restrictions for lawn watering will be in effect throughout Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties through at least March 1, 2014.
“We are asking residents to be prudent with their water use, especially outdoor irrigation, at this time,” Swiftmud Chairman Carlos Beruff said. “During the winter months you can often skip a week or more, as most lawns and landscape plants do not need as much water.”
Pinellas County Utilities customers using potable, well, lake or pond water may irrigate one day a week (Monday to Friday) before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. according to the following schedule:
• Addresses ending in 0 or 1 may only water on Mondays • Addresses ending in 2 or 3 may only water on Tuesdays • Addresses ending in 4 or 5 may only water on Wednesdays • Addresses ending in 6 or 7 may only water on Thursdays • Addresses ending in 8 or 9 may only water on Fridays • Rights-of-way, common areas and other “no address” locations may only water on Fridays
The water shortage declaration also places the restrictions for the following:
• Watering of new lawns and plants must follow an establishment period exemption schedule
• Sprinkler-like devices used on a lawn for recreational purposes shall be limited to the lawn and landscape restrictions
• Recreational devices such as wading pools, water slides, etc. shall discharge or empty onto a lawn or landscape area that requires irrigation
• Homeowners associations and other entities must suspend any requirement to replace lawns or engage in other activity that increases water use
Residents who water by hand or use micro-irrigation can still water any day within the allowed hours.
Swiftmud said that the tighter watering restrictions take into account that the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir is currently under renovation, meaning that water from the Alafia River was not able to be stored during the summer rainy season for use during the subsequent dry season. The C.W. Bill Young Reservoir is a major water supply source for Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.
Pinellas County officials say if conditions do not improve, more aggressive conservation action may become necessary, including stringent enforcement, such as issuing citations or fines.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Control Center predicts that precipitation will be below normal in much of Tampa Bay including Pinellas County through at least the end of March with a chance of a more normal rain pattern beginning in April or May.
Swiftmud can change water restrictions at any time and with little notice. Utilities customers are responsible for staying up to date on restrictions and watering schedules. Violations may result in a $193 fine.
Pinellas County Utilities can sign up to receive email notifications to subscribed customers when schedules change as a courtesy. Don't miss these important notifications. Customers are encouraged to go to www.pinellascounty.org/utilities and click on the Utilities My eAccount button to add or update their email address. For more information, contact Customer Service at 464-4000.
County residents who are not customers of Pinellas County Utilities should check with their water provider for watering schedules and other information.