By following watering restrictions and conserving other uses, Hillsborough County residents can ensure their potable water taps are always flowing.

By Brad Stager

Just as it’s wise to save money for a ‘rainy day,’ it can also be a good idea to conserve water when the aquifer and local reservoirs are replenished with help from the summer’s frequent afternoon storms.

That’s the approach Hillsborough County is taking, by encouraging conservation through year-round enforcement of lawn-watering restrictions and offering a financial incentive for neighborhoods to upgrade common-area irrigation systems.

Watering lawns in unincorporated Hillsborough County is restricted to two specified days weekly, once per day either before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Days are determined by the property’s address.

According to Hillsborough County, the following schedule is in effect: Addresses ending in 0, 1, 2 or 3 can water their lawns on Mondays and Thursdays, addresses ending in 4, 5 or 6 can water their lawns on Tuesdays and Fridays while addresses ending in 7, 8 or 9 can water their lawns on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Wednesdays and Saturdays are also the days that locations with no addresses, including common areas, as well as locations with mixed addresses such as office complexes, can water their lawns on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Violators of the restrictions could receive citations with financial penalties starting at $100 from Hillsborough County Code Enforcement.

There are also financial rewards for conserving. Low-volume irrigation grants up to $2,500 for installing efficient watering systems or updating existing ones in common areas of neighborhoods are available through Hillsborough County’s Office of Neighborhood Relations. Applications are accepted on a continual basis and the deadline is Wednesday, September 30.

Rebates are available to residential and non-residential water users through the Tampa Bay Water Wise program, an initiative offered through Tampa Bay Water, its member governments and the Southwest Florida Water Management District. These include incentives for efficient high-water use items like toilets, dishwashers and irrigation devices.

Details are available at tampabaywaterwise.org.

David Glicksberg manages the Sustainable Water Resources section of Hillsborough County’s Environmental Management Division.

He said, “The main goal of all these water conservation programs is to communicate to people that we all need to use water as efficiently as possible so that we can have a safe and sustainable water supply for all of us for generations to come.”

Glicksberg added that drought-resistant, Florida-friendly landscaping also helps save water and that people should check for indoor and outdoor water leaks.

For more information, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org or call 663-3295.