Tampa Bay area residents will be restricted to watering their lawns only once a week beginning Dec. 26.
The restriction, approved by the Southwest Florida Water Management District's board on Tuesday, was put in place because of reduced river levels and increasing water supply concerns.
The problem is due in part to the fact that the 15.5 billion gallon C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir in rural Hillsborough County is being repaired to fix a cracking problem. That means that water skimmed from the Alafia River and other surface sources couldn't be stored during the summer rainy season for use during the subsequent dry season.
In addition to the reduced lawn watering schedule, allowable watering hours were reduced. Micro-irrigation and hand watering of nonlawn areas still are allowed any day, if needed. The once-per-week schedule will remain in place through March and affects residents in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.
Reclaimed water remains subject to voluntary watering hours, unless restricted by local governments or utilities.
Twice-per-week lawn watering schedules remain in effect for Charlotte, Citrus, Desoto, Hardee, Highlands, Lake, Levy, Manatee, Polk and Sumter counties. Some local governments such as Hernando and Sarasota counties and the cities of Brooksville, Longboat Key and Venice have local ordinances and choose to remain on one-day-per-week restrictions