Starting Jan. 6, all homeowners and others within the Suwannee River Water Management District (District) will be asked to limit landscape irrigation to one or two days per week, depending upon the time of the year.
The District covers all of Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor, and Union counties and parts of Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Jefferson, Levy, and Putnam counties. For the first time ever, the District is implementing a year-round water conservation rule that applies to residential landscaping, public or commercial recreation areas, and public and commercial businesses that aren’t regulated by a District-issued permit.
In the past, the District has enacted only short-term voluntary restrictions in response to drought conditions.
Jon Dinges, the District’s director of resource management, said the new requirement will help address water needs within the District.
“Water supply is a statewide issue,” Dinges said. “We all must do our part to conserve.”
Unlike other areas of the state where irrigation schedules are set according to addresses, water users in the SRWMD will be allowed to set their own schedules as follows: Choose one day per week to water landscapes during Eastern Standard Time, which begins the first Sunday in November; choose two days per week during Daylight Saving Time, beginning the second Sunday in March. In both cases, irrigation should not occur between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Newly planted landscapes may be watered more frequently for 60 days following planting.
“Reducing landscape irrigation and watering more efficiently helps us make the most of our resources and it reduces irrigation costs,” Dinges said.
Those who wish to deviate from the water conservation rule must apply for a water use permit.
The requirement is part of the District’s new water use permitting rules. In addition to water conservation for landscape irrigation, the new rules require anyone applying for a water use permit to implement a water conservation plan. Dinges said only new permit applicants are required to adopt a conservation plan; existing permit holders must adhere to their current permits.
The new water use rules may be viewed at www.mysuwanneeriver.com/rulesandregs under 40B-2. For more information contact Linda Welch, rules coordinator, at 386.362.1001.