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Commission bans weekend watering

The rules for watering change for unincorporated Pasco; several municipalities are expected to follow suit.

By ALISA ULFERTS

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 24, 2000


NEW PORT RICHEY -- Forget all you know about the county's watering restrictions. They just changed.

Again.

County commissioners on Tuesday voted to spread out the one-day-a-week watering schedule across the five weekdays -- meaning the odd-number-address-Sunday, even-number-address-Tuesday schedule has been scrapped.

Instead, there will be no watering on the weekend in unincorporated Pasco County. You water on Monday if your address ends in 0 or 1, Tuesday if it's 2 or 3, Wednesday if it's 4 or 5, Thursday if it's 6 or 7 and Friday if it's 8 or 9. The new rules kick in at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

Got that?

"We apologize to the people that have set their sprinklers. We know there's a lot of confusion," Commissioner Ann Hildebrand said.

In addition to the change in days, the new regulations allow residents to water just once on their appointed day -- either before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. Before, the county let residents water in the morning and evening.

"One time on your one day. You can pick the morning (or) you can pick the evening," county water attorney Rick Tschantz said.

The revised water restrictions come as the Tampa Bay area continues with its driest season on record. Hillsborough and Hernando counties already switched to the five-day schedule. Although Pasco initially resisted following those counties' lead -- largely because of the confusion it would generate -- county staffers decided to pursue the new schedule after the county's water system suffered low-pressure problems and strain from the constant pumping on Sundays and Tuesdays.

These restrictions apply only to residents of unincorporated Pasco County. But city managers from several of the county's municipalities said they plan to ask their city leaders to follow the county's lead.

"Then we're all on the same sheet of music," said Port Richey City Manager Vince Lupo. Port Richey was scheduled to consider the revised restrictions at its Tuesday night meeting.

Zephyrhills has followed suit every time the county has changed its watering restrictions in recent weeks. City Manager Steve Spina said he would ask council members to adopt the county's new restriction, but he will have to wait until the board's meeting, which isn't until June 12.

"It's confusing to keep changing it, but it's more confusing to have different restrictions," Spina said. "If we're all on the same page, it's easier for everybody."

Dade City isn't expected to follow the county's lead, said City Manager Doug Drymon. The city hasn't had problems with pressure swings, so a change is probably not warranted, he said.

The city of New Port Richey's next scheduled meeting is in June.

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Staff writers Chase Squires and Cary Davis contributed to this report.

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