WATER WAYS: Restrictions and Conservation
Much of Florida is under what's known as Phase 2 water restrictions. Basically, this means that activities such as lawn watering and car washing are limited to two days a week - Wednesdays and Saturdays for odd-number addresses, Thursdays and Saturdays for evens, for instance. Water use is further limited to certain hours - before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. in the Orlando area, for instance, or before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m. in parts of South Florida.
In some cities, the restrictions apply even if you're using reclaimed water on your lawn. As of the end of March 2001, the densely populated southernmost part of the state -including Palm Beach, Broward, Dade and Monroe counties - was under even tougher regulations. Lawn watering is
allowed for only three hours, one day a week. Tighter restrictions also will be imposed on farmland in Hendry, Okeec
hobee and Lee counties.
- Fix leaky pipes, faucets and toilets
- Take shorter showers
- Don't leave the water running while you brush
your teeth, wash yourface or shave- Run the dish-
washer or washing machine only when you have a full load
- Install low-flow fixtures on toilets and showerheads
- Wash cars on a porous surface so the water will soak into the ground
rather than become runoff. Also, use a hose with an automatic shutoff
rather than letting the water run while you soap
- Sweep the driveway or sidewalk instead of using the hose
- Consider a water-saving filter for the pool
- Consider xeriscaping (a landscaping technique that uses drought-tolerant
plants) for your home or business. Information is available from the water
district or the county extension agent
Those who don't follow the rules face tickets and fines -- $50 for first-time offenders in Central Florida, for instance - with South Florida enforcing a tough zero-tolerance policy.
Think two days a week sounds like a hardship? Not really, say water managers. Lawns rarely need watering more than twice a week anyway, said Jeff Cole, a spokesman for the St. Johns River Water Management District. In the spring, before the heat sets in, lawns can get by with a drink every 10 days or so. Even in summer, once or twice a week is sufficient. And if it rains, you may not need to water at all.