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Water Restrictions Eased

Landscape contractors in the Paso County, Florida area will be allowed to water their clients' lawns twice a week, following the lifting of the once-a-week rule. The strict so-called Phase 4 rule was imposed in April 2009 when the area ran dangerously close to running out of water.
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The region's once-a-week watering restrictions are no more, as of late June.The restrictions, a legacy of the Tampa Bay region's long water shortage, expired recently. Because the winter brought above-average rainfall, the Southwest Florida Water Management District board voted in Late June not to renew the watering limits.
Residents can now water their lawns twice a week.

Ronald Oakley, the board's chairman, commended the region's residents for abiding by the restrictions for so long. However, he added, "we want to remind them that just because they may be able to water two days per week, doesn't mean they need to. We can't afford to be wasteful."

The board first declared a water shortage in January 2007. At one point last spring, the shortage had reached such a critical stage that the board imposed the toughest restrictions in its history.

At that point, the Hillsborough and Alafia rivers, which help provide water for the region, had dropped to just two percent of their normal flow. The C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir, which can hold 15 billion gallons, had been drained dry.

"At this time all of the water resource indicators indicate that we are no longer in a water shortage," said district spokeswoman Robyn Felix.

Experts credit the situation to an unusually wet winter followed by a return to normal summer weather patterns that bring heavy rain showers almost daily. As a result the district board voted to ease tough water use restrictions.

"We're getting ready to go into the concentration of our rainy season in July, August and September," director Dave Moore noted. "It's harmful to over water your yard."

"The CW Bill Young Reservoir was dry. All of our lakes and rivers were at their absolute lowest levels," Felix said. "We've seen almost a 100 percent turn around from where we where last year."

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June 17, 2019, 8:38 am PDT

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