In the face of an ongoing drought that has limited sprinkler use for Pinellas County residents, the city of St. Petersburg on Tuesday said it was immediately lowering its reclaimed water pressure flow during the hottest times of the day.
The move is intended to allow residents to have enough water for irrigating overnight and in the early morning, the city said in an advisory Tuesday.
Decreased pressure will come out of sprinklers from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Residents are encouraged to adjust their irrigation timers accordingly. Those with automatic sprinkler systems are asked to turn them off if there is not enough pressure for proper irrigation.
If drought conditions worsen, Mayor Ken Welch could place mandatory restrictions on reclaimed water.
The city is also advising residents to water their lawns no more than three days per week, from 5 to 9 a.m. or 7 to 11 p.m. Homes with even-numbered addresses should irrigate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and odd addresses should irrigate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
The city said watering during the heat of the day is inefficient, as much of the water is lost to evaporation and wind drift.
The supply of reclaimed water depends on the amount of wastewater processed at the city’s three water reclamation facilities. According to the city, it takes five houses’ worth of wastewater to produce enough reclaimed water for one property. Reclaimed water pressure will return to normal once the supply is stabilized, the city said.
Reduced supply is expected for this time of year. According to a presentation to City Council members last month, there are 11,000 active customers using reclaimed water. April and May is a “seasonal pinch-point,” meaning demand is at its highest while supply is at its lowest.