Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa City Council continues lawn sprinkling ban despite recent rains

TAMPA — Despite a week of torrential downpours, the Tampa City Council on Thursday voted to maintain a ban on lawn sprinkling.

In a memo issued this week, Mayor Pam Iorio said she wanted the ban to remain in effect until the city's reservoir reached 21 feet and the flow down the Hillsborough River was at 60 million gallons a day.

As of Thursday, the reservoir, which supplies the city with most of its drinkable water, was at 20.8 feet and 41 million gallons a day was flowing down the river, according to Brad Baird, director of the city's Water Department.

Council member John Dingfelder, who never supported the ban, urged his colleagues to lift it immediately, saying it was enacted in April because a three-year drought was threatening the region's water supply. Recent rains have lessened that problem, he said.

"The community relies on us to listen to staff and make decisions based on the evidence in front of us," Dingfelder said. "The emergency is over."

Tampa's watering restrictions are more stringent than the rest of the region's. State water regulators last month approved restrictions for Pasco, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties that generally limit lawn watering to one day a week between midnight and 4 a.m.

"We should now get in line with Hillsborough County and the rest of the Bay area communities," Dingfelder said.

Council member Linda Saul-Sena agreed.

"Our beloved river is in good shape," she said. "The rains have saved us from being in a dire situation."

But the pair generated support only from council member Joseph Caetano.

The vote to keep the ban came after pleas from owners of landscaping and irrigation businesses to allow watering.

"Many property owners have suffered losses," said John Miller, owner of Oasis Irrigation and Landscape.

A majority of council members, though, were unsympathetic.

Council member Gwen Miller said the rains have been a blessing, but once people are allowed to water again the crisis will return.

"I don't see this (being) as big a hardship as we thought it would be," said council member Mary Mulhern.

Mulhern said over the long-term the city needs to think about adjusting its code to encourage planting of sod and landscaping that requires minimal watering to survive.

Seminole Heights resident Chip Thomas, while arguing to keep the ban in place, told the council most of the world would be horrified that Americans put a limited resource on sod that doesn't serve any purpose other than aesthetics.

"If we were rational and objective about this there would be far more outrage about use of drinking water on lawns than there is about the current restrictions," he said.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

Web special report

For more information about the drought and water resources, see our interactive report at tampabay.com/drought.

Web special report

For more information about the drought and water resources, see our interactive report at tampabay.com/drought.

Tampa City Council continues lawn sprinkling ban despite recent rains 05/21/09 [Last modified: Monday, May 25, 2009 5:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bar review: Cheap drinks do fine at the Joint in St. Petersburg

    Bars & Spirits

    The Tyrone area of St. Petersburg is a little light on drinking spots, so the locals must have been happy when a long-running neighborhood spot — formerly Donk's Sports Tavern and Double J's Sports Bar — reopened earlier this year as the Joint.

    Patrons sit at the bar in the Joint in St. Petersburg.
  2. Local Craft Beer of the Week: Fireberry Tea Ale, Sea Dog Brewing Co.

    Bars & Spirits

    Clearwater's Sea Dog Brewing Co. doesn't get enough credit. Most craft beer drinkers familiar with the near-ubiquitous Sea Dog and Shipyard brands, which have been brewed in Maine since the early '90s, erroneously conclude that the Clearwater location is more of the same. But this location, opened in 2013, features its …

    Justin Grant/Special to tbt*
  3. Epilogue: Snooty, 69, a breed apart from other manatees (w/video)

    Wildlife

    New York City has the Statue of Liberty. San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. St. Louis as the Arch.

    And for 68 years, Bradenton had Snooty.

    Aquarium curator Carol Audette touches noses with Snooty the manatee in 2001 at the South Florida Museum. Snooty was 53 then. [Times 2001]
  4. Verizon is back: Unlimited data is boosting subscriptions

    Energy

    After posting surprising losses among cellphone subscribers earlier this year, Verizon is back. The wireless carrier said Thursday that it has added 358,000 phone subscribers over the past several months, blowing analyst expectations out of the water and showing that its unlimited data plans are helping to keep …

    Verizon said Thursday that it has added 358,000 phone subscribers over the past several months, blowing analyst expectations out of the water and showing that its unlimited data plans are helping to keep customers loyal.
(Associated Press]
  5. Director: Jameis Winston is most charismatic 'Hard Knocks' QB

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs' Hard Knocks life has already begun. HBO and NFL Films' behind-the-scenes documentary series of an NFL training camp — this season featuring the Bucs — started filming even before training camp began. That means Matt Dissinger, the show's director, is already the hardest working …

    Jameis Winston (3) lifts a victorious arm after the Bucs beat the San Francisco 49ers in October at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times ]