BROOKSVILLE — A divided Hernando County Commission on Tuesday voted to make permanent the once-a-week lawn watering restriction.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District last month loosened its restrictions, allowing a return to twice-a-week watering. But Hernando utilities director Joe Stapf urged the county to keep the old rule.
Hernando County had previously pumped more than allowed under its permits and had to negotiate a deal with Swiftmud, a deal that included creating a strong conservation ethic and bringing water usage to below 150 gallons per person per day.
Stapf said Tuesday that usage was declining and that if rainy conditions had reached the point that the rules could be loosened, then twice-a-week watering wasn't necessary. He encouraged approval of the ordinance.
Residents of patio homes at Wellington at Seven Hills asked the commission to allow twice-a-week watering because of problems the community has had in keeping lawns alive under the more restrictive rules.
Others came forward to urge approval of the ordinance, saying plants get used to once-a-week watering and that conservation of the limited resource was critical.
Commissioner Rose Rocco pointed out that many problems with lawns this year are due not to a lack of water, but instead the cold winter. "What we have to do is think about what's going to happen in the future,'' Rocco said.
Commissioners John Druzbick, Dave Russell and Rocco voted in favor of the once-a-week restriction; Commissioners Jeff Stabins and Jim Adkins were opposed.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.