Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa City Council sticks with tough watering restrictions

TAMPA — The city of Tampa's lawn watering restrictions, the toughest in the region, survived an attempt Thursday in City Council to allow alternate-week watering with sprinklers.

In a 4-2 vote, the council rejected John Dingfelder's proposal to bring the law closer to what city staff had recommended, and what is practiced in surrounding counties.

"We are the only city to my knowledge that has gone to zero watering. We did it prematurely," Dingfelder said.

Member Linda Saul-Sena added that although the city's ordinance must require conservation during the ongoing drought, "it also must be enough to keep people's gardens alive."

The existing law, which took effect April 3, allows hand-watering only, and carries a $100 fine for violators. New rules from the Southwest Florida Water Management District limit hours for lawn sprinkling and ban ornamental fountains, residential pressure washing and car washing.

Previously, the water management agency ordered homeowners to stop resodding lawns, and directed local governments to step up enforcement efforts. Weather experts predict a drier than normal spring that will continue at least until the start of the rainy season in June.

About a dozen representatives from landscape and irrigation businesses attended Thursday's hearing, hoping to plead their case.

"We never had a chance," said David Davis, who installs and repairs irrigation systems. "And there's going to be businesses closed. Probably next week I'll be looking to get rid of two employees."

Tampa officials estimate that the city has saved about 51 million gallons of water since the restrictions began.

"I don't know if we had a monsoon from last week to this week," said Charlie Miranda, who has championed the restrictions. "But I know we've had a monsoon of people doing the right thing, and that's watering less."

As business owners heckled him quietly from the audience, Miranda said it would be a gamble to ease restrictions when the Hillsborough River, the source of most of the city's water, has posted record low levels for weeks.

"I am not a gambler," he said. "I do not roll the dice when the numbers might come up against public safety."

Countered Dingfelder: "I'm not a gambler either. But I am a public servant. And we are obligated to listen to the public and listen to our staff. ... And our staff recommended every other week."

Dingfelder said after the hearing that he was surprised the council has taken such an extreme position.

"I don't believe in government by fear tactics," he said. "I think it's unfair to the middle class. The very rich people will take the $100 ticket."

Marlene Sokol can be reached at (813) 269-5307 or sokol@sptimes.com.

Tampa City Council sticks with tough watering restrictions 04/09/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 1:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)

    Golf

    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Matt Kuchar plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole and finishes with bogey for 1-under 69. He had a one-shot lead after 13 holes.
  2. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  3. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  4. Rays claim not to be panicking after third straight brutal loss to Rangers (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There was no "here we go again" moment in the dugout as Rougned Odor's two-run homer in the eighth inning arced across Tropicana Field and toward the rightfield seats, even though when it landed, the score was tied and another late-inning Rays lead was blown.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria heads back to the dugout after fouling out in the ninth inning with the potential tying run on first.
  5. White House signals acceptance of Russia sanctions bill

    National

    WASHINGTON — The White House indicated Sunday that President Donald Trump would accept new legislation imposing sanctions on Russia and curtailing his authority to lift them on his own, a striking turnaround after a broad revolt in Congress by lawmakers of both parties who distrusted his friendly approach to …

    President Donald Trump’s ability to lift sanctions against Russia would be blocked.