Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties will be limited to once-per-week lawn watering beginning Dec. 1.
Rain may have fallen in Hillsborough County this week but it wasn’t enough to bring relief for the ongoing dry conditions throughout the region and increasing water supply concerns.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District (District) Governing Board voted Tuesday to declare a Modified Phase I Water Shortage. The restrictions apply to Hillsborough and several other neighboring counties from Nov. 21 through July 1, 2024.
The decision was made after the District received lower than normal rainfall during the summer rainy season and currently has a 9.2-inch districtwide rainfall deficit compared to the average 12-month total. In addition, water levels in the District’s water resources, such as aquifers, rivers and lakes, are beginning to decline.
The Modified Phase I Water Shortage Order does not change allowable watering schedules for most counties, however it does prohibit “wasteful and unnecessary” water use and twice-per-week lawn watering schedules remain in effect except where stricter measures have been imposed by local governments. Residents are asked to check their irrigation systems to ensure they are working properly. This means testing and repairing broken pipes and leaks, and fixing damaged or tilted sprinkler heads. Residents should also check their irrigation timer to ensure the settings are correct and the rain sensor is working properly.
However, as of Dec. 1, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties will be limited to once-per-week lawn watering. These additional restrictions are needed because Tampa Bay Water, which supplies water to most of the three-county area, was unable to completely refill the 15-billion-gallon C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir this summer due to the lower-than-normal rainfall.
Once-per-week lawn watering days and times for those who live in unincorporated Hillsborough County are as follows:
• If your address (house number) ends in…
…0 or 1, water only on Monday
…2 or 3, water only on Tuesday
…4 or 5, water only on Wednesday
…6 or 7, water only on Thursday
…8 or 9, water only on Friday
Properties under two acres in size may only water before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Properties two acres or larger may only water before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. Low-volume watering of plants and shrubs (micro-irrigation, soaker hoses, hand watering) is allowed any day and any time.
Residents living within the city limits of Plant City will also be limited to once-per-week lawn watering beginning Dec. 1. Those living within the city limits can visit plantcitygov.com for more information and to find out which day they can water.
For additional information about the Modified Phase I Water Shortage Order, visit the District’s website WaterMatters.org/Restrictions. For water conserving tips, visit WaterMatters.org/Water101.