Effective immediately, tighter water restrictions are in effect throughout Hillsborough County and the Tampa Bay area, which includes limiting the number of times you can water your lawn to once a week.

According to local government officials, the restriction is now in place until at least July 31 in response to the decision by the Southwest Florida Water Management District to declare a Modified Phase II Water Shortage for the Tampa Bay area, including Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. The restriction decision came earlier this week due to the drier-than-normal conditions following last year’s below-average rainfall that caused low water levels throughout the district’s 16-county region.

“We are now seeing critically low river flows and declining groundwater levels throughout the District, including the Alafia River, which has reached a historically low water level,” said Swiftmud spokesperson, Robin Felix.

According to Hillsborough County Water resources spokesperson Michelle Van Dyke, the tighter restrictions apply to all residents – not just customers of public utilities – and most water sources, which include private wells, ponds or lakes that are used as alternate irrigation supplies.

“The biggest change for us at this time is that the new schedule for watering established lawns and landscaping throughout Hillsborough County, including the cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace puts everyone on the same watering days,” Van Dyke said.

The last time Hillsborough County was on a once a week watering restriction was prior to July, 2010, as Hillsborough County came out of a four-year drought, but Van Dyke said that over all area residents have done a pretty good job in keeping up with the changes and following the schedules.

Reclaimed water customers are exempt from the water restrictions, although these customers are encouraged to use only what they need.

All watering must be done before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

The current schedule is:

Addresses ending in 0 or 1 – Mondays

Addresses ending in 2 or 3 – Tuesdays

Addresses ending in 4 or 5 – Wednesdays

Addresses ending in 6 or 7 – Thursdays

Addresses ending in 8 or 9, locations with no address, and locations with mixed addresses (such as office complexes and shopping centers) – Fridays

For complete information on these and other restrictions in unincorporated Hillsborough County – as well as links to information from the cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace, please visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org/water. Or, call the Water Conservation Team at 272-5977, ext. 43991.

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