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Adjustment to the irrigation schedule
Posted on Mar 15th, 2010

The return to daylight saving time also signals an adjustment to the irrigation schedule throughout the 18 counties in the St. John's River Water Management District. From now until Nov. 7, property owners will be allowed to run their sprinkler systems two days a week instead of the one-day restriction during the winter months. According to water district spokesman Hank Largin, this was the first year residents were limited to once-a-week watering in the winter. The restrictions, he said, were enacted to ensure the efficient use of water for lawn and landscape irrigation.
"Over 50 percent of the water used around the home is used for outdoor irrigation," Largin said. "Among the most important ways to help meet Florida's water supply needs for today and the future is through conservation. Watering wisely promotes healthier lawns and landscapes and conserves Florida's water resources."
Largin said hard numbers weren't available about the effect of the more stringent winter restrictions, but the combination of less irrigation and above average rainfall across the area has been good news for the ground water supply. The water district reports that for most of Lake County, the surface of the Floridan Aquifer is two to four feet above the level in February 2009.  Heading into the spring and summer seasons, the water district is reminding residents of their new watering schedule. For addresses that end in an odd number, Wednesday and Saturday are their irrigation days. Addresses ending in an even number can water on Thursday and Sunday. For nonresidential landscape irrigation, watering days are Tuesday and Friday. Other components of the restrictions include no irrigation between 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and irrigation is limited to no more than one inch of water per zone and one hour per irrigation zone on each day that irrigation occurs. Residents are reminded to keep an eye on current conditions, because they always have the option to not water at all and save resources and money.    "Twice a week doesn't mean your yard needs to be watered twice every week," Largin said. "You know if we get a good rain, you can go up to two weeks before your lawn needs watering again."  The landscape irrigation restrictions apply to water withdrawn from ground or surface water, from a private well or pump or from a public or private water utility. The use of reclaimed water is not limited unless a local government has adopted a landscape irrigation ordinance that restricts the reclaimed water use of its customers. Whichever rules apply, water officials note that their effectiveness depends on the cooperation of water users.  "We've always concentrated on education and have always felt like if people understood the rules and understood they could maintain a healthy lawn by following the rule, they would follow the rule," Largin said.