Record-setting day of water usage prompts strain on system.
About half of the 31 million gallons of water distributed on Tuesday by Sarasota County’s Public Utilities division returned as wastewater, officials said, indicating much of the record-setting water volume went into irrigation uses.
Sarasota County on Wednesday issued a water emergency, urging residents to use water sparingly for purposes other than those that are necessary for health or safety.
County Administrator Jonathan Lewis’ order restricts the use of potable water for irrigation purposes, unless allowed by an exemption in the Sarasota County Code.
The added demand on the potable water system caused by the drought conditions contributed to low water system pressures. The emergency order is designed to assist the water system during this recovery period while limiting further impact to the businesses and residents that have been most impacted by the low system pressures.
Virtually no rain has fallen on official recording stations this month, driving up concerns about drought conditions and wildfires. The National Weather Service indicates a gradual increase in moisture and rain potential, beginning this weekend and into mid-week. By Sunday, a 30% chance of showers returns to the forecast through Wednesday.