Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa to reconsider sprinkling ban in two weeks

TAMPA — Relief may be on the way for people watching their lawns wither due to the lawn sprinkling ban.

The City Council voted Thursday to reconsider the ban in two weeks and allow sprinkling every other week.

Tampa's sprinkling ban took effect April 3.

Council member Mary Mulhern, who had been a strong proponent of the ban, suggested modifying it after hearing that the city might ultimately have to pay to replace greenery in Tampa parks lost because of lack of water.

"It is just getting drier and drier," she said. "People deserve to at least have us look at that in another two weeks."

The measure passed by a 4-3 vote, with council members Charlie Miranda, Tom Scott and Gwen Miller voting against it.

The vote came after Miranda pressed the board to stick with the restrictions.

"I don't know why we flip-flopped. We should be at McDonald's flipping and flopping burgers," he said. "What's more important? A lawn or water to drink?"

Water Department director Brad Baird also urged the council to stick with the restrictions. "It's working, however painful," he said.

Since the restrictions went into place, the city is saving about 20 million gallons of water a day on watering days, Baird said.

He also said the water level in the reservoir on the Hillsborough River, where the city gets most of its drinkable water, has remained steady at about 6 inches above the level it dropped to during the 2000 drought and a foot above the minimum level required to make it through the dry season.

"A foot above the line is good insurance," he said. "But I would recommend not enough to change the restrictions we have in place."

Daily river flows are still at record lows, he said.

The region is in the midst of a three-year drought, exacerbated by the cyclical spring dry season.

The good news, Baird said, is that since the restrictions went into place four weeks ago, more than 400 people have signed up to connect into the city's reclaimed water system. That's more than have signed up in the past two years.

Council member Joseph Caetano said he didn't want to wait to ease the sprinkling ban.

"Two weeks may be too late," he said. "People are irate, and it's not fair."

He suggested lifting the ban today, but that measure failed, with only John Dingfelder and Linda Saul-Sena supporting it.

As state and regional water officials struggle to control consumption, talk of imposing a drought surcharge on big users has gained traction.

Developer Don Phillips bashed the idea, telling the City Council that it was a mistake to punish the wealthiest residents, whose philanthropic activities benefit Lowry Park Zoo, educational institutions and museums.

He specifically named RV executive Don Wallace; the Glazer family, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; and New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

He suggested asking these successful businessmen to help develop solutions to the water crisis. "We owe them more than incremental amounts of water," Phillips said. "If you have a couple million dollars and a generous wallet, the entire world beckons."

Janet Zink can be reached at or (813) 226-3401.

Tampa to reconsider sprinkling ban in two weeks 05/07/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 7, 2009 11:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies


    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.