PINELLA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — As the Tampa Bay area deals with drought conditions, leaders are considering implementing water restrictions.
Southwest Florida Water Management District officials are considering restricting lawn watering to a single day each week in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, where drought conditions are the worst. Currently, residents can water their lawn twice a week. A vote will be held Tuesday morning.
“It’s been 26 years since we’ve had this dry of the summer,” said Hillsborough County Commissioner Harry Cohen, who also serves on the board for Tampa Bay Water. “We expect that Swift Mud will meet tomorrow and declare a phase 1 water shortage.”
“Fifty percent of potable water use is used for residential watering and landscaping. So, the amount of watering that we’re talking about that can be conserved by going to one day a week can be very significant, and can make a real difference as we try to conserve water,” Cohen added.
“Just to hear the numbers of how much water is actually put on the ground,” said Charles Carden, General Manager of Tampa Bay Water.
Carden said the region has enough drinking water. He emphasizes that the 1.5 billion-gallon reservoir in Hillsborough County is at about 80%.
Carden said that now is the time for families to consider water conservation efforts.
“Little things like turn off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth. All those add up to big numbers. Right now, our supplies are very adequate to get us through, but they won’t last forever.”
If approved, the restrictions will go into effect on Dec. 1.
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.