Tampa residents asked to watch water usage

- With mostly dry weather in the forecast ahead, the Southwest Florida Water Management District has declared a Phase One Water Shortage for parts of Tampa Bay.

That includes Hillborough, Pasco and Pinellas Counties.

Water restrictions are not in place under Phase One, but Tampa City officials are advising residents to cut back on unnecessary water use and prepare for tighter restrictions if extremely dry conditions continue.

"You can still water twice a day. The main thing is to reduce wasteful outdoor water usage, like washing down your driveway when a broom will work, those sorts of things," said Chuck Weber, Water Director for the City of Tampa.

The current watering schedule for city of Tampa residents is as follows:

Residents with addresses ending in 0, 1, 2 or 3 can water their lawns on Mondays and Thursdays.
Residents with addresses ending in 4, 5 or 6 can water their lawns on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Residents with addresses ending in 7, 8 or 9 can water their lawns onWednesdays and Saturdays.

City officials say residents are only allowed to water between 6pm and 8am.

Failing to follow the rules could come with a fine ranging from $100 to $450 dollars, in addition to a court appearance.

The city water department patrols each neighborhood daily in search of violators.

Spotting rule breakers is frustrating for people like Lily Cacciatore, who said she is doing her part to conserve. Her grassy lawn is now mostly dirt.

"I'm not going to break the rules. That's what they want. That's what you've got to do," said Cacciatore.

On Monday, the city purchased roughly 30 million gallons of water from Tampa Bay Water to increase its shrinking reservoir supply. Officials said they will continue to do so daily until the rain comes back.

"We are watching levels in the reservoir everyday," said Weber.

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