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Soon, lawns may look thirstier

New Port Richey's new water limits are meant to help it fulfill orders to reduce use by 5 percent.

By JENNIFER GOLDBLATT

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 19, 2001


NEW PORT RICHEY -- City residents will only be able to water their lawns once on their designated watering days and wash their cars and water new lawns once each week. They won't be able to use water for outdoor decorative fountains.

Those are the new regulations the New Port Richey City Council adopted Tuesday night to comply with orders from the Southwest Florida Water Management District. In an effort to protect the water supply amid the unprecedented drought, Swiftmud last month ordered Tampa Bay Water and its member governments to curtail non-essential water uses and reduce water use by 5 percent.

Previously, irrigation of lawns and landscaping was permitted one day per week between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Now, irrigation is only allowed once at any single address during any 24-hour period.

Previously, residents could water new lawns in place for less than 30 days every day between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. and again between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Now, those who have new lawns can only water on designated watering days.

In addition, hand watering is only allowed on designated watering days.

Last month, Pasco's Board of County Commissioners adopted a new fine schedule for repeat water use violators. Those fines will apply in New Port Richey. The fine for a first offense remains at $30. The fine for a second citation increases to $250 from $60. For a third violation, the fine goes to $500 from $120. New Port Richey already reduced its water usage by 5 percent in 2000 from 1999, and another 5 percent year-to-date in 2001, compared to year-to-date in 2000.

In other council business Tuesday night: New council member Susan Clark and incumbents Tom Finn and Ginny Miller, who were elected last week, were sworn in for their two-year terms. Council members elected Scott Chittum to be deputy mayor, a post Ginny Miller held during 2000-2001.

- Jennifer Goldblatt covers the city of New Port Richey. She can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6229 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6229. Her e-mail address is goldblatt@sptimes.com.

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