SFWMD Works with Sod Industry to Save Water
The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board voted Dec. 16 to modify the tightened turfgrass restrictions for Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties, which will allow builders to sod and residents to replace lawns under a specific set of conditions.
District staff met with members of the sod industry last week to discuss solutions to the extreme water shortage in the Tampa Bay area as well as the serious economic conditions affecting the sod industry. Based on suggestions by the sod industry, District staff recommended the Governing Board modify both the new sod and turfgrass renovation restrictions.
"We are experiencing two serious conditions: the extreme water shortage in the Tampa Bay area and the dramatic downturn in the economy," said Richard Owen, District deputy executive director. "We met with the sod industry and believe we’ve come up with a solution that will continue to save water while allowing the sod industry to remain in business."
The modifications apply to both new construction and lawn replacement (sod, plugs, and other turfgrass material.) The changes include:
- Restricting the new construction and turfgrass replacement establishment period to 30 days total.
- On days 1-15, beginning the day of installation, the new or replacement turfgrass may be watered every day of the week.
- On days 16-30, the new or replacement turfgrass may be watered approximately every other day. Unless otherwise specified by a local ordinance, even-numbered addresses may only water on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Odd-numbered addresses may only water on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.
The Governing Board voted at its October meeting to tighten water restrictions for all of Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties through June 30, 2009. The Governing Board voted to enact the additional measures at the request of Tampa Bay Water, the region’s wholesale water supplier. Tampa Bay Water requested the District’s assistance because its water supplies have not returned to pre-drought conditions.
The Hillsborough River reservoir, the main water supply for the city of Tampa, is near historic record lows for this time of year. The Alafia River is so low that it is providing very little water to meet public supply needs. Tampa Bay Water’s C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir currently has about 3 billion gallons in storage and Tampa Bay Water estimates that if the region does not receive above average rainfall January through March, the reservoir will be depleted by April 2009.
In addition to continuing to restrict lawn watering to one-day-per-week, the tightened restrictions continue to include the following for Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties:
For more information about water restrictions or water conservation, please visit the District’s Web site www.WaterMatters.org/drought or call 1-800-423-1476, extension 4498, during normal business hours.