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Water Use Restrictions
(page last reviewed: 04/09/09)
Limited rainfall, increasing irrigation demands and decreased flow in the Hillsborough River have caused Tampa’s reservoir level to decline and recover more slowly than in past years. The reservoir is Tampa’s primary drinking water source and Emergency Water Use Restrictions have been enacted to help ensure a sufficient quantity of drinking water for the Tampa community. Violating water use restrictions in Tampa may result in fines ranging from $100 to $450 and a mandatory court appearance.
By using water efficiently you may also save money. Tampa’s Schedule of Rates includes a multi-tier rate structure where the price of each billing unit of water increases as the quantity of water used in a billing cycle increases. This means that using more water will result in a higher utility bill due to the increased tier charges.
Water Use Restrictions depend on where the property is located and what water source is being used. Links are provided below:
Water restrictions inside Tampa City limits, using public supply potable (drinking) water provided by City of Tampa Water Department
Water use with City of Tampa provided potable (drinking) water inside the City limits is restricted under Emergency Ordinance 2009-57. (Summary Sheet)
Water restrictions inside Tampa City limits, using well water and sources other than public supply potable (drinking) water provided by City of Tampa Water Department
Water use with water sources other than that provided by the City (for example, private irrigation wells) is restricted under SWF Order 09-012 and SWF Order 08-044. (Phase III Restrictions Summary) An online well registry form is available.
Water restrictions for Tampa Water Department Customers located outside Tampa City Limits in Unincorporated Hillsborough County
Water use restrictions for customers located outside Tampa city limits are enforced by Hillsborough County Water Resource Services. In accordance with SWF Order 09-012, Tampa Water Department customers outside the city limits must comply with City of Tampa water use restrictions as outlined in Tampa Ordinance 2009-57.
Water restrictions inside Tampa City limits, using well water and sources other than public supply potable (drinking) water provided by City of Tampa Water Department, for Commercial and Industrial Use, Agricultural Use, Golf Courses and Driving Ranges, and Other Athletic Play Areas
Water use with with water sources other than that provided by the City (for example, private irrigation wells) for Commercial and Industrial Use, Agricultural Use, Golf Courses and Driving Ranges, and Other Athletic Play Areas is restricted under SWF Order 07-02.
Water restrictions inside Tampa City limits using reclaimed water
The use of reclaimed water for irrigation and other non-potable uses is not restricted, although it should always be used efficiently. Customers located in Tampa’s reclaimed water service area should contact (813) 282-7827 for information of service availability.
Tampa Water Restrictions Roof Cleaning – Pressure Washing Article Below:
By NEIL JOHNSON | The Tampa Tribune
Published: March 31, 2009
Updated: 03/31/2009 07:22 pm
TECO Signs Reclaimed Water Deal
How Are You Conserving Water?
New Standards Are Tight
BROOKSVILLE – Put away your pressure washers, cancel the school band’s carwash and reset your sprinkler timers.
Oh, yeah, and turn off your decorative fountain unless it uses reclaimed or salt water.
As of Friday, the Tampa Bay area will have its toughest-ever water restrictions, courtesy of Tuesday’s unanimous vote by the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s governing board.
The changes most likely to be noticed will shrink the window when homeowners can water and ban the use of pressure washers except by commercial operators.
The new rules are a reaction to a continued drought and expected high levels of pumping at well fields, the only source of water left for most of the region.
The restrictions apply in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties. They take effect Friday and last until June 30.
Tampa, with its reliance on the Hillsborough River for most of its water, has even tougher restrictions. Starting Friday, most city residents can water lawns and shrubs only by hand.
Dave Moore, the district’s director, said after the vote that the measures should meet the goal of cutting water use by 20 percent if everyone complies.
A district study estimates the changes will mean the loss of about 350 jobs, mostly in the landscaping industry, and will cost the area about $19 million.
The prospect of such financial hits helped draw a standing-room only crowd to the board’s meeting in Brooksville. Speakers ranged from residents who live near well fields to owners of pressure cleaning and landscaping companies.
Among the rule changes:
• Residents not supplied by the city of Tampa may water lawns between midnight and 4 a.m. on their designated watering day if their lots are smaller than 1 acre. Those living on larger lots can also water from 8 p.m. to midnight.
• Hand-watering landscaping or using micro-irrigation, once allowed any day, is limited to three days a week.
• Homeowners are banned from doing their own pressure cleaning.
• Car washing at home or by charity car washes is prohibited. You can only use commercial car washes, most of which recycle their water.
• All decorative fountains must be turned off.
The changes also further tighten Tampa’s restrictions, cutting the hours when city residents can water by hand.
There are exemptions to the district’s new rules.
Belleair, Dade City, Dunedin, Plant City, San Antonio, Temple Terrace and Zephyrhills are not affected because those cities do not get their water from Tampa Bay Water.
Also, property owners with private wells or shallow irrigation wells remain on their current watering schedule.
The district, known as Swiftmud, considered imposing tighter regulations in February but decided to wait for a review of how the changes would affect businesses and to see whether the existing rules would save enough water.
The district study showed those regulations, which included a total ban on pressure washing, would have cost the region more than 2,200 jobs and more than $80 million.
The decision to allow commercial pressure cleaning was a huge relief to James Kotow, who said it means he probably will be able to keep his business open.
Tampa Bay Water, which provides water to Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey and some of Tampa, has only its well fields to rely on until summer rains begin.
The utility’s reservoir in southern Hillsborough is dry, and there is no flow in rivers to augment the well fields.
Down the line, Swiftmud board members may consider imposing more rules on local utilities.
One proposal discussed would be an order forcing utilities to enact surcharges during droughts on those using the most water.
Board member Hugh Grambling said water departments have not been robust enough in trying to cut use.
“I don’t think they’ve stepped up to the plate to avoid environmental damage,” he said.
Reporter Neil Johnson can be reached at (813) 259-7731.
Tampa Water Restrictions Questions And Answers
Questions, answers on new Tampa Bay water restrictions
Times Staff Writer
In Print: Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Amid a three-year drought, the Southwest Florida Water Management District imposed its most severe water restrictions ever. They start Friday and run at least through June 30.
What are the new hours for Tampa lawn irrigation?
All Tampa lawn watering remains limited to the once-a-week schedule already in effect. Hours for sprinkling will be midnight to 4 a.m. for properties less than 1 acre. For properties larger than 1 acre, it’s midnight to 4 a.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight. City of Tampa water customers cannot use lawn sprinklers at all.
Hand-watering will be allowed from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. on watering days.
What about my landscaping?
Sprinklers can only be used on watering days. You can use a watering can, hose equipped with an automatic shutoff nozzle, or microirrigation system three days a week. Even-number addresses can water this way on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For odd-number addresses, it’s Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
What about new sod and landscaping?
You have to follow the new restrictions on hours, but fresh sod still gets a 30-day establishment period. For the first 15 days, new turf may be watered any day of the week. For the next 15 days, you can water every other day.
New landscaping has a 60-day establishment period. For the first 15 days, the plants can be watered any day of the week. You can water every other day for the next 30 days and twice a week in the final 15 days.
Who is affected by the rules?
All Tampa Bay Water customers, which includes Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties and most of their cities. Cities not affected are Belleair, Dade City, Dunedin, Plant City, San Antonio, Temple Terrace and Zephyrhills.
If you have a private well or reclaimed water, please check with your local government. Links to their Web sites are at our special report, Tampa Bay Water Crisis. There’s a link on this page above.
Do I have to turn off my backyard fountain?
Yes. Only fountains that use reclaimed water or saltwater are permitted.
Can I wash my car or pressure wash my house?
You will have to go to a commercial car wash or hire a commercial pressure washer.
Will I have to set my thermostat at 78 degrees or above?
The thermostat rule applies only to buildings with water-based cooling systems — typically government buildings, common areas in malls, and lobbies of multitenant office buildings.
Are golf courses and farms affected?
Do the rules affect me if I have a private well? Do I have to register my well?
Swiftmud says residents in Hillsborough, Pasco or Pinellas counties using other sources of water, either private well water or water from utilities not affected by the Phase IV measures, remain under the current Modified Phase III restrictions.
However, your local government could apply stricter rules for private well or reclaimed water. You can check for that and whether you have to register a well by following the links at our special Tampa Bay Water Crisis report, which is linked on this page above.
I was planning on pressure washing my house this weekend to prepare it for painting. Do I have to hire a company now?
Yes. Personal pressure washing is no longer allowed.
Do the new restrictions apply to vegetable gardens?
Here’s what Swiftmud says about landscape and non-lawn watering:
Limited Days: Watering of landscapes using an in-ground irrigation system (rotor and spray sprinkler heads) or a hand-held hose equipped with a portable sprinkler remains limited to the same once-per-week schedule as lawn watering.
Watering of landscapes (non-lawn) using a sprinkling can, hand watering with a hose equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle, or micro-irrigation is now limited to three days per week. Micro-irrigation includes soaker hoses, drip tubes, microjets and other forms of low-volume irrigation technology. Even addresses may use any of these forms of efficient irrigation on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Odd addresses may do so on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Midnight to 4 a.m. for properties less than one acre in size, using an in-ground irrigation system (rotor and spray sprinkler heads).
Midnight to 4 a.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight for properties more than one acre, using an in-ground rotor and spray irrigation system.
6–8 a.m. and 6–10 p.m. for properties any size, using a sprinkling can, hand-held hose equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle, or micro-irrigation.
I have a private well for watering my lawn and I get my drinking water from Utilities Inc. Utilities Inc has their own wells in our mobile home park. What rules do I follow?
If you have a private well, but a separate utility company only for drinking water, you still must follow the Phase 3 restrictions.
I have a 6-foot pond with aerator spray in my front yard that holds fish, frogs and flora. Is this allowable?
Swiftmud has received a lot of questions about these type of ponds. If it uses water — city, county, reclaimed or well — it applies to the decorative fountain category. But it gets complicated if it’s keeping fish alive. Contact Swiftmud at 1-800-836-0797, ext. 2298 for more specific information.
Can you wash your car over your lawn during lawn watering hours?
Residential car washing is not permitted, period. You’re still using water to wash your car. Take comfort in the fact that everyone else will have dirty cars too.
Are there any restrictions regarding filling my son’s kiddie pool?
Kiddie pools are not specified in the Phase 4 watering restrictions, so they are fine. For now, at least.
I live in a gated community. We use county water for drinking, but community-owned wells for irrigation. We are having much debate here over whether the well water can be used for irrigation.
You can use the gated community or private well water for irrigation, but it must be within Phase 3 restriction guidelines, which would be one day a week on a designated day. That day depends on the last number of your address. You can get specifics for your community by going to our links at our special Water Crisis report.
Are there are specific restrictions on “water toys,” like Slip and Slide, or kid play sprinklers?
Swiftmud discourages the use of devices like Slip ‘n Slides, and some local restrictions totally prohibit them, so check with your local utility.
Are goverment properties exempt from these restrictions? I see the city of Temple Terrace watering medians several times a week.
Government properties also follow restrictions. Some medians use reclaimed; if in doubt, report the approximate location to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be checked into.
[Last modified: Apr 04, 2009 11:25 AM]
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