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District increases water restrictions in Bay area | News

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District increases water restrictions in Bay area

Tampa Bay, Florida -- Due to below normal rainfall, reduced river levels and increasing water supply concerns, the Southwest Florida Water Management District's Governing Board voted Tuesday to increase water restrictions in the Tampa Bay area.  

Even though December rainfall was reportedly near normal for our region, rainfall in January and February was 3.5 inches below normal.

"For the last several months, we've watched the conditions decline, said Chairman Paul Senft.  "If we do not receive significant rainfall in the coming months, we may have to extend these restrictions into other areas of the District. We ask residents to be conservative with their water use, especially outdoor irrigation."

The Governing Board enacted Phase III restrictions for lawn watering, car washing and fountain use in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. 

The tighter restrictions begin March 13 and take into account that Tampa Bay Water's C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir is currently under renovation, meaning the utility is relying on its desalination plant and regional wellfields to meet public demand in the coming months.

Below is the breakdown of the Phase III water restrictions:

Effective Dates and Affected Areas

  • The restrictions are scheduled to begin on March 13, 2013 and expire on July 31, 2013.
  • 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 schedule applies unless your city or county has a District-approved different schedule or more stringent restrictions. 

Addresses with "house numbers" ...

May only irrigate on...

Ending in 0 or 1


Ending in 2 or 3


Ending in 4 or 5


Ending in 6 or 7


Ending in 8 or 9


Rights-of-way, common areas and other "no address" locations


  • Allowable watering hours are before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. 

Landscape Watering

  • Handwatering and microirrigation of flower beds, shrubs and other plants (other than lawns) can be done on any day, if needed, but is limited to allowable watering hours.

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 three days a week. Even-numbered addresses may water on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Odd-numbered addresses may be watered on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Rights-of-way and other "no address" locations may be watered on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday.
  • Except on the day of installation or when sprigs are being grown, establishment watering must be done during allowable watering hours.
  • Be able to supply proof of installation date upon request.


  • 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.

Vehicle Washing

  • Car washing is limited to once per week on the designated watering day for the location.
  • Fundraising car washes cannot be scheduled after the effective date of these restrictions.
  • Commercial car washes, including mobile detailing businesses, may still operate on any day.
  • Fire engines and other emergency vehicles may still be washed on any day as needed.
  • Boats can be rinsed and boat engines can be flushed after each use.   

Other Water Uses

  • Restaurants shall only serve water upon request.
  • Other than athletic play areas, including golf, football, baseball and other athletic fields, all lawn and landscape areas must comply with the once-per-week restrictions.

Deed Restrictions & Community Standards Enforcement

  • Homeowners associations and other entities must suspend any requirement to replace lawns, pressure wash or engage in other activity that increases water use during this water shortage declaration.

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.

There are no changes to the Phase I restrictions currently in place in the above mentioned counties for other water uses, including agricultural irrigation, golf course operations, industrial processes, or pressure washing activities.

However, Phase I restrictions remain the same in Charlotte, Citrus, Desoto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Lake, Levy, Manatee, Polk, Sarasota and Sumter counties.

Southwest Florida Water Management District


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