May 10, 2012

The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s executive director declared an emergency order to increase water restrictions including limiting lawn watering to once per week in the Tampa Bay area due to continued drought conditions.

Executive Director Blake Guillory declared a Modified Phase II emergency water shortage order for Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. The order, which begins immediately, takes into account water resource conditions and the fact that Tampa Bay Water recently activated the third level of its local water shortage mitigation plan in response to the water supply.

Under the emergency order, the allowable lawn and landscape watering schedule is reduced to once per week on a specified day based on address. Microirrigation and hand watering of nonlawn areas still are allowed any day; but like all irrigation, such activity must now occur only during designated hours (before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. unless otherwise specified by a stricter local ordinance).

See fact sheet below for more information about the restrictions.

“This year’s hotter and drier than normal conditions following last year’s below-average rainfall have caused critically low river flows and declining groundwater levels throughout the District,” said Lois Sorensen, District demand management program manager. “Generally, conditions in the Tampa Bay area and counties north are worse than counties in the southern portion of the District.”

Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Levy and Sumter counties as well as the City of Dunnellon and The Villages in Marion County currently are under a Modified Phase III order with more stringent restrictions.

Counties in the southern and eastern portions of the District’s region remain on Modified Phase I restrictions. Those counties are: Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Manatee, Polk and Sarasota.

Counties remaining under the Modified 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.

However, some local governments in the Modified Phase I portion of the District have stricter local ordinances limiting watering to one day per week or specifying different watering hours. Residents should check with their local government or water utility for any local schedule.

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

Fact Sheet

Effective Dates and Affected Areas
• Modified Phase II water shortage restrictions are scheduled to begin on May 9, 2012 and expire on July 31, 2012.
• The restrictions affect Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties.

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. Areas with no address, such as common areas in developments, should water on Friday.

Addresses with “house numbers” … May only irrigate on …
Ending in 0 or 1  Monday 
Ending in 2 or 3  Tuesday 
Ending in 4 or 5  Wednesday 
Ending in 6 or 7  Thursday 
Ending in 8 or 9  Friday 

• Allowable watering hours are before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. regardless of property size.

Landscape Watering Schedule and Times
• Handwatering and microirrigation 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. or as specified by local ordinance

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.

• Fountains and other aesthetic water features may only operate four hours per day. The regular hours of operation can be selected by the owner, but must be posted (see list of exemptions such as water features that also provide aerification to koi ponds at

Car Washing
• Car washing is limited to once per week on the designated watering day for the location.
• Fundraiser and commercial car washes, including mobile detailing businesses, may still operate on any day.
• Emergency and other first responder vehicles may still be washed on any day as needed.

Pressure Washing
• Pressure washing for aesthetic purposes is allowed once on an annual basis.
• Pressure washing for necessary purposes, such as prior to painting or to correct a safety hazard, is allowed as needed.

Water Utilities and Other Local Enforcement Agencies
• Use automatic meter reading or weekly night patrols to monitor compliance where restriction violations or high-use single family residential accounts are concentrated.
• Issue citations without needing to have first issued a warning.

Other Water Utility Responsibilities (Does not apply to water utilities who are allowed to withdraw less than 100,000 gallons per day)

Utilities must:
• Provide a concise monthly system status report, including enforcement.
• Continue implementing customer messaging and other water conservation efforts.
• Plan for supplementation of potable supplies, including coordination with the District and other agencies as appropriate.
• Notify the District within 24 hours if the public supply system experiences a significant change in status.

Other Water Uses
• Restaurants shall only serve water upon request.
• Agricultural operations, commercial establishments and industrial facilities must also comply with applicable restrictions listed in the Water Shortage Order.

Deed Restrictions & Community Standards Enforcement
• Homeowners associations and other entities must suspend any requirement to replace lawns, pressure wash or engage in other activity which increases water use during this water shortage declaration.

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