Water usage may be curbed

Tampa Bay Water asks for a watering limit of once a week.

Published November 14, 2006

TAMPA - People in St. Petersburg and Hillsborough County might again face one-day-a-week watering restrictions.

Officials at Tampa Bay Water said rainfall has averaged 10 inches below normal for six months, meaning that jurisdictions getting water from the utility must restrict use.

"At this time of year, you generally don't need to irrigate more than once a week at the most," said Dave Bracciano of Tampa Bay Water. "At this point in time, it's not a very harsh burden."

The Hillsborough River is 68 percent lower than normal for this time of year. The Alafia River is 53 percent lower. Withdrawals will continue only through the end of the week.

Meanwhile, demand is up 11 percent from October 2005.

Hillsborough County and St. Petersburg are the only Tampa Bay Water members that allow twice-a-week irrigation.

St. Petersburg has allowed it since October 2003. The City Council would need to approve a change.

Council Chairman Bill Foster said a discussion is not expected. "We are water wise. We are water pinchers," said Foster. "If there's waste, they need to look over there," he said, referring to Hillsborough County.

In Hillsborough, attorneys are preparing an ordinance to put restrictions before the County Commission on Wednesday, said Pam Greene, conservation manager for the water department.

If commissioners approve the ordinance, a public hearing will be set for Dec. 6.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or 813 226-3401.