GIWA declares water shortage due to drought

■ SUBMITTED BY THE GASPARILLA ISLAND WATER ASSOCIATION

The Gasparilla Island Water Association measured 2.47 inches of rain Tuesday morning at the wastewater treatment plant after a long-awaited drenching rain Monday night, but that doesn’t mean we are out of the woods yet when it comes to a severe drought.

While this week’s rain was very welcome and will certainly help our drought conditions, we are still 6.78 inches below normal in rainfall after deducting Tuesday’s rainfall total.

Due to the ongoing drought conditions, the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s (SWFWMD) governing board voted to declare a Phase I Water Shortage effective May 8, 2017 for all 16 counties throughout the District’s boundaries.

SWFWMD regulates GIWA’s water withdrawals and our Charlotte County users. South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), which regulates GIWA’s Lee County users, also declared a Water Shortage Warning.

The primary purpose for these orders is to alert the public that mandatory watering restrictions could be forthcoming.

The order also requires GIWA to review and implement procedures for enforcing year-round water conservation measures and water shortage restrictions, including reporting enforcement activity to the District. The most beneficial conservation practice is compliance with year-round landscape irrigation watering schedules as detailed below.

These schedules remain unchanged at this time; however, “wasteful and unnecessary” water use is prohibited. The following are the current year-round water conservation measures for landscape watering as detailed below: Charlotte County • Lawn watering is limited to twice per week (if needed);

• Even-numbered addresses may water on Thursday and/or Sunday; • Odd-numbered addresses may water on Wednesday and/or Saturday;

• Landscape watering is allowed before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. on your designated days;

• Hand watering and micro-irrigation of plants (other than lawns) can be done on any day and at any time. Lee County (restrictions regulated by South Florida Water Management District):

• Lawn watering is limited to twice per week (if needed);

• Even-numbered addresses may water on Thursday and/or Sunday;

• Odd-numbered addresses may water on Wednesday and/or Saturday;

• Landscape watering is allowed before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. on your designated days;

• Irrigation using low-volume methods such as micro-irrigation, and hand watering using a hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle may be conducted at any time.

New landscape is allowed additional watering but varies by county.

For more information, visit mygiwa.com.

Florida law requires that all automatic sprinkler systems be equipped with a rain shutoff device that will turn your system off after sufficient rain has fallen, and then allow it to return to normal operation after a period of no rain.

Please consult with your landscaper to ensure you are following the water restrictions for your county of residence, and that you have a functioning rain sensor. If you have a rain sensor, your system should have turned off as a result of this morning’s rain, saving both our water resources and your money.

The District considers both natural water resource conditions and the viability of public supply when deciding to declare a water shortage order.

If voluntary water conservation efforts prove insufficient, the water districts may consider further mandatory water use restrictions to ensure adequate water supplies until the wet season begins, and to prevent serious harm to our water resources. The wet season normally begins on June 1.