Make us your home page

Swiftmud enacts rules to avoid sinkholes, dry wells in Dover, Plant City

PLANT CITY — With temperatures rising and the winter harvest long over, water officials are making plans to avoid the kind of water use that caused sinkholes and dry wells during heavy winter freezes on eastern Hillsborough farms.

Earlier this month, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, or Swiftmud, enacted a new list of water-use rules for Dover and Plant City.

The rules include creating a new process for allocating dry well complaints, declaring a 256-square-mile water-use caution area and establishing a minimum aquifer level. The rules also establish a minimum aquifer level protection zone and require automatic meter-reading devices.

Robyn Felix, Swiftmud spokeswoman, said the district will help farmers pay for meter-reading devices and fund up to 75 percent of costs for alternative freeze protection projects such as crop covers.

"We worked closely with the agriculture community to create a new set of rules," she said. "We want to make sure the farmers continue to do good business."

During the unprecedented 11-night freeze in January 2010, farmers pumped groundwater in an attempt to save crops. Officials received reports of more than 750 dry wells and 140 sinkholes, most of which were directly related to the water use.

Farmers drained aquifers in eastern Hillsborough County to the point of causing harm throughout January 2010, according to Swiftmud.

For a detailed description of the new water-use restrictions, visit

Sarah Whitman can be reached at (813) 661-2439 or

Swiftmud enacts rules to avoid sinkholes, dry wells in Dover, Plant City

06/23/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 23, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Former Sen. Greg Evers, advocate for law enforcement, dead at 62.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Former State Sen. Greg Evers, the Baker Florida strawberry farmer and veteran politician, was killed in a single car crash hear his home in Okaloosa County. The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed the death late Tuesday, but deferred any further information pending an investigation. He was 62.

    Former Florida Senator Greg Evers, R- Milton, was a passionate advocate for law enforcement and corrections officers. He was found dead Tuesday afternoon in a car crash. He was 62. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Foundation Partners buys Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home


    ST. PETERSBURG — Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.

    Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home, the Tampa Bay area's largest family-owned funeral company, has been sold.
[CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Water Street Tampa unveils video showing downtown's transformation


    TAMPA — Water Street Tampa, the sweeping, 50-plus acre redevelopment project in Tampa's urban core, has unveiled new images and video of what the downtown district will look like upon completion.

    Strategic Property Partners released a conceptual image of what the Tampa skyline will look like once its redevelopment of 50-plus acres of downtown will look like. [Photo courtesy of  of SPP]
  4. Florida ranks high for workplace equality between men and women

    Working Life

    When it comes to the workplace, Florida ranks fifth in terms of gender equality, a WalletHub study released Tuesday found.

    Florida ranks high in terms of equality between men and women in the workplace. Pictured is Sandra Murman, county commissioner in 2015, talking about the differences in pay between men and women. | [Times file photo]
  5. Treasury secretary's wife boasts of travel on government plane, touts high fashion


    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's wife, Louise Linton, boasted of flying on a government plane with her husband to Kentucky on Monday and then named the numerous fashion brands she wore on the trip in an unusual social media post that only became more bizarre minutes later.

    Steven Mnuchin and his then- financee Louise Linton watch as President Donald Trump speaks during Mnuchin's swearing-in ceremony as  treasury secretary in the Oval Office of the White House on Feb. 13. [Mandel Ngan | AFP via Getty Images]