Tougher Water Rules Imposed

water sprinkler
TAMPA (2009-03-31) -

Shrinking resources and an ongoing drought prompted regional water managers to impose strong, new water use restrictions in the bay area.

Water regulators are placing Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties as well as Tampa, St. Petersburg and New Port Richey under a critical water shortage alert. That means a ban on outdoor fountains, pressure cleaning and car washing except by commercial vendors and it shortens the hours for outdoor watering.

Robyn Felix is spokeswoman for the Southwest Florida Water Management District. She says it's critical because the region's primary water supplier is down to only one water source, its well fields.

"Tampa Bay water is no longer able to take any surface water from the Hillsborough or Alafia rivers. The C.W. Bill Young Reservoir is dry," Felix says. "The desalination plant is no longer working at optimum capacity."

The tougher restrictions run through June 30th when the rainy season should begin. The area also is suffering from a three and a half year drought which Felix says is expected to continue.

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