Area residents encouraged to conserve water; County declares April is Water Conservation Month

OKEECHOBEE — At the request of the South Florida Water Management District, the Okeechobee County Board of Commissioners has declared the month of April 2018 as Water Conservation Month in Okeechobee County.

South Florida Water Management District has been committed to water conservation for many years. At the core of the district’s mission is protecting and ensuring the sustainability of Florida’s water resources, both below ground in the Floridian aquifer system and aboveground in our many waterways.

Water conservation is the cornerstone of Florida’s water sustainability.

Likewise, the district believes that conservation is a critical strategy in meeting the current and future water supply needs of our state.

SFWMD board member Brandon Tucker accepted the Proclamation.

“Every business, industry, school and citizen can help by saving water and thus promote a healthy economy and community,” the proclamation states.

“As we have moved into dry season, my phone lights up with people needing water instead of people wanting to get rid of water,” said Mr. Tucker.

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Conserve water year round

OKEECHOBEE — Lawn watering is limited all year in South Florida by the South Florida Water Management District’s Year-Round Landscape Irrigation Rule and local ordinances.

In effect since March 2010, the Year-Round Landscape Irrigation Conservation Measures Rule (Chapter 40E-24, Florida Administrative Code) limits landscape watering throughout the South Florida Water Management District. It applies in all cases when the source of water for irrigation is a utility, lake, pond, canal or well. The mandatory year-round rule is a component of the SFWMD’s Comprehensive Water Conservation Program, which encourages more responsible use of water resources.

In Okeechobee County, if your address ends in 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9, lawn watering is allowed before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

If you address ends in 0, 2, 4,6 or 8, lawn watering is allowed before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays.

No lawn watering is allowed during the head of the day between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The SFWMD Year-Round Landscape Irrigation Rule allows additional watering for up to 90 days following the installation of new lawns and landscaping.

• On the day new landscaping is installed, new plantings and the soil may be irrigated once without regard to the normally allowable watering days and times. Soil irrigation is also allowed immediately prior to planting.

• New plantings that have been in place for 30 days or less may be watered on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and/or Sundays.

• New plantings that have been in place from 31 to 90 days may be watered on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and/or Saturdays.

• Irrigation is limited to the areas containing new landscaping only. An entire irrigation zone may be watered only if new landscaping is planted on at least 50 percent of that zone. If new landscaping is planted on less than 50 percent of an irrigation zone, only the new plantings may be watered.
There are some exclusions to the water conservation rules.

• The use of low-volume irrigation methods – including micro-irrigation, container watering and hand-watering with a hose (with an automatic shut-off nozzle) – is allowed anytime.

• The use of reclaimed water and harvested rainwater for irrigation purposes is allowed anytime.

• The rule applies only to water used for landscape irrigation. There are no restrictions on other outdoor uses such as pressure cleaning or vehicle/boat washing, although voluntary, water-conserving practices are highly recommended.

A small northeast corner of Okeechobee County is in the St. John’s River Water Management District. The rules for property owners in the SJRWMD are similar to those in SFWMD. Odd numbered addresses may water before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Sundays. Even numbered addresses may water on Thursdays and Sundays. Nonresidential properties may water on Tuesdays and Fridays. Lawns should be watered for no more than one hour.

Editor Katrina Elsken can be reached at kelsken@newszap.com

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