Water restrictions increased in Tampa Bay area - WFLA News Channel 8

Water restrictions increased in Tampa Bay area

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

The Southwest Florida Water Management District voted Tuesday to increase water restrictions in the Tampa Bay area.  The Governing Board officials said they did it because of below normal rainfall, reduced river levels and increasing water supply concerns. Tampa Bay Water's reservoir is also currently being restored.

"With the reservoir down, that's 15.5 billion gallons that's not available that typically has been in the past," said SWIFTMUD spokesperson, Susanna Martinez Tarokh.  The restrictions will affect Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties and will begin March 13th.

Under the increased restrictions, lawn and landscape watering will now be allowed only once a week based on address. Hand watering is still allowed any day before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Car washing is limited to once a week. Fountains can only work four hours a day.

"For the last several months, we've watched the conditions decline," said Paul Senft, the chairman of Southwest Florida Water Management District's Governing Board. 'If we do not receive significant rainfall in the coming months, we may have to extend these restrictions into other areas of the District." 

Residents in the bay area have grown used to water restrictions in past years.  I think once those has been implemented so many years ago, they were never going away," said Linda Schobben, owner of Bayshore Market in South Tampa.  Schobben sells a variety of flowering plants, and drought resistant plants that need little water. She said ground cover like jasmine and leafy plants like crotons can withstand limited water. But, she encouraged homeowners to plant flowers in hanging baskets, or in small areas that are easier to care for.  "One day a week, we can still use our water can.  We can still use our hose, as long as it has a shut off valve," she said.

Water restriction rules remain the same in Charlotte, Citrus, Desoto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Lake, Levy, Manatee, Polk, Sarasota and Sumter Counties.  "We ask residents to be conservative with their water use, especially outdoor irrigation," Senft said.

For more information please check WaterMatters.org/restrictions

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