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Environment

Tampa Bay Area Could See Tighter Water Restrictions

PL_ReclaimedWater.jpg

 We've had drier than normal conditions and if rain doesn't start falling soon the Tampa Bay area might be under a tighter water restriction.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SFWM) has given approval to the director to issue an emergency order to increase the water restriction-- if weather conditions get worse.

If Director Blake Guillory orders the tighter restriction it would affect Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties.

Counties like Citrus, Hernando, Lake, and Sumter are already under these tighter 'Phase III' restrictions.

SFWM spokeswoman Robyn Felix says the tighter restriction would mean reducing lawn watering from two days to one day a week with shorter hours.

"Then there's also additional restrictions on new lawns and landscape, how long you can run fountains, and car washing and pressure washing," Felix said.

The district's water shortage is because of:

  1. Half a year of below normal rainfall- Since October 2011, we've had 11.7 inches of rain when the normal is 18 inches.
  2. Dry winter- from January through March we've had almost 4 inches of rain when the average is close to 9 inches.
  3. Low lake level was recorded on Lake Lindsey in Hernando County and in Lake Iola in Pasco County.
  4. Weekly record low flow conditions in Withlacoochee, Alafia, and Peace Rivers.

SFWM's governing board meets on May 22nd but the director can impose the tighter restriction at any time.