March 23, 2011

South Fla. District Imposes Water Rules

Officials declared a water shortage Tuesday for a broad swath of central and southern Florida, issuing more stringent restrictions to cope with one of the driest winters on record.

The South Florida Water Management District ordered residents throughout its 16-county area of oversight to water lawns no more than twice a week, beginning Saturday. The district includes a portion of southern and eastern Polk County.

It affects 7.7 million people in an area that stretches from Orlando to the Florida Keys.

"We're expecting the dry season to continue being as dry as it has been," said Pete Kwiatkowski, the management district's incident commander on the water shortage. "We're trying to extend the water supplies that we do have."

The move comes after an exceptionally dry few months in South Florida. The period from October through February ranked as the driest such time frame in 80 years, according to the water management district. Rainfall for the season was 7.72 inches below average as of Tuesday.

"This is one of the driest dry seasons we've had," said Susan Sylvester, the district's director of operations control.

Similar conditions have been experienced throughout Florida. The St. Johns Water Management District, which covers a large portion of the Atlantic coastline from Indian River to the Georgia border, also has twice-a-week watering restrictions. So does the Southwest Florida Water Management District, though that restriction is applied year-round in that region, which includes most of Polk.

The new restrictions issued by the South Florida district also curb usage by farms, golf courses, nurseries and other businesses.

Matt Sedensky - AP

Published: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 10:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 10:44 p.m.

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Water restrictions this coming Saturday, March 26, 2011. Here are the links to the restrictions for both Landscapes and Commercial Ag.

Commercial Ag and Nursery


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