New regulations say residents can only water lawns once a week, through August.
Despite the recent rain, the Southwest Florida Water Management District is restricting water use in the area starting today.
Lawn watering will be limited to once a week, down from the prior twice-a-week permission, until Aug. 1.
Residents can water lawns before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m., per the new regulations, and only on specific days of the week based on their addresses.
Public information officer Susanna Martinez Tarokh said the restrictions went into effect because, technically, the area is in a drought.
Hydrologists with Swiftmud, as the organization is typically known, said there has only been 10 inches of rainfall since Jan. 1 in the 16-county coverage area.
In typical years there is 22.5 inches of rain by June — leaving the region 12.5 inches short for 2017, Martinez Tarokh said.
The tighter regulations could be lifted sooner than the Aug. 1 deadline — pending more rainfall.
“Obviously we would need to see some consistent and sustained rainfall over the summer months,” Martinez Tarokh said. “We’re at least [12.5 inches] down. We would at least need to make up part if not all of that to be able to lift the water restrictions.”
In addition to lawn-watering restrictions, a once-a-week limit on car washing is also in effect. There is no restriction on hand-watering or micro-irrigation of plants other than lawns, and homeowners associations can’t enforce rules that increase water usage during the time frame.
If local municipalities have tighter restrictions or a different watering schedule than the ones set by Swiftmud, residents should follow those guidelines.
Manatee County/Longboat Key schedule:
The day on which irrigation is approved is based on the final digits of property addresses:
Address numbers ending in 0 or 1: Monday
Ending in 2 or 3: Tuesday
Ending in 4 or 5: Wednesday
Ending in 6 or 7: Thursday
Ending in 8 or 9 or areas with no address: Friday
Sarasota County schedule:
No irrigation is allowed at any time on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
Irrigation is allowed on the following days, one time per irrigation zone per day:
Tuesdays - Even numbered building addresses (numbers ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, 8), addresses ending in A through M and common areas (medians, recreational areas or other areas with no address).
Thursdays - Odd numbered building addresses (numbers ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, 9) and addresses ending in letters N through Z.
The above irrigation schedule differs from other areas in the district, as is established by local ordinances.