TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Bay is 8.3 inches short of normal rainfall totals so far this year. After a drier than normal rainy season, leaders are now urging conservation efforts.

“Use the water that you need, don’t use anything that you don’t,” said Warren Hogg, Chief Science Officer for Tampa Bay Water.

“Tampa Bay Water has plenty of water supplies to meet the region’s needs, we’re just asking people to take those conservation measures to make sure that we extend our supplies,” he added.

The utility says their main reservoir has more than 14 billion gallons of water in it, which is close to its capacity. But water usage increased in the region during the month of September. Use averaged 208.5 million gallons per day, which amounted to 7.45 million additional gallons per day than the average for the month of August. Still, leaders are urging residents to take simple steps.

The utility provided these examples of ways to save water:

  • Know your watering days. Find your local utility’s watering restrictions by entering your ZIP code here: https://www.tampabaywater.org/tampa-bay-watering-restrictions
  • When it’s raining or rain is in the forecast, skip a week of watering and let Mother Nature water your lawn for free
  • Inspect your irrigation system regularly for broken and blocked sprinkler heads and to make sure you’re not watering the sidewalk
  • Wait to re-sod or put in new plants until the summer rainy season returns, or install a Florida-friendly landscape instead
  • Install smart irrigation controllers to monitor soil or weather conditions so you water only when you need to. Residents may qualify for a free device and installation or up to a $250 rebate from Tampa Bay Water Wise.
  • Install a shallow well for irrigation. This takes you off your local utility system completely for watering your landscape. Residents may qualify for a $1,000 rebate through the Tampa Bay Water Wise program.
  • Check for household leaks, such as a leaky toilet flapper and save up to 200 gallons per day depending on the extent of the leak. For more information on replacing a toilet flapper, visit toiletflapper.org.