There are many benefits to having an irrigation system. Sprinkler systems can help cut down on labor and help your home or business maintain its curb appeal. However, water conservation is a growing concern for city and county officials. That’s why watering restrictions and watering days have become part of the solution in Tampa Bay. While many of these rules and regulations vary by city and county, if you know the basics, and take a common sense-approach to conservation, it’s easy to lower your water bill and avoid hefty fines.
A quick look at the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County websites, reveals that both municipalities same watering days and that all watering must be accomplished either before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. However, both sites caution that other water regulations, including those related to chemical applications and irrigation system maintenance, may differ. Need a quick refresh on the rules in your neighborhood? Search water restrictions by ZIP code here.
Exceptions to the Rules
As with many rules, there are a few exceptions, so you’ll want to read your county and city water regulations carefully. There is, however, one exception: reclaimed water. Reclaimed water is recycled water that’s been treated to remove solids and impurities. You can’t drink it, or swim in it, but you can use reclaimed water for irrigation without restriction.
Citations and Fines
It may seem like watering on the wrong day or the wrong time isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but city and county officials take water conservation seriously. And to ensure that everyone else takes them seriously as well, a number of citations and fines can be issued to violators. The City of Tampa issues fines ranging from $100 for first-time offenses to more than $450 (and a mandatory court appearance) for three or more offenses.
Why Water Conservation Matters
Water conservation is an issue for Tampa Bay homes and businesses. At certain times of the year it is estimated that nearly is attributed to home watering. Additionally, businesses and institutions in the US consume nearly 20% of the nation’s drinking water — or almost four trillion gallons. The good news: making a few changes in your lawn care regimen can really make a big difference. For example, skipping an irrigation cycle when it rains, or on a day when it has rained, could save you between 1500 and 2500 gallons of water. That’s a lot of savings — for the environment, and your pocketbook.
Technology – Your Conservation Sidekick
Playing by the rules isn’t as difficult as it may seem. In the old days, you’d manually have to turn your system off as needed. But today, there are sophisticated sensors, gauges and timers to help you water at the specified times and conserve water on a regular basis. Here’s a quick overview of the basics:
- Timers – Set your timer to water your lawn at the right time and on the right days, and you’ll never have to worry about violating city and county water restrictions.
- Rainfall Sensors – Automatically shuts your sprinkler system off when it rains so you don’t have to worry when you’re away from home.
- Rainfall Gauges – Many r measure how much rainfall has occurred and use that information to determine if an irrigation cycle should be missed or not.
Maintenance – Your Ongoing Solution
When you have an irrigation system, the best way to conserve water is to . Periodically, you’ll want to turn the system on and check for issues that could lead to wasted water and higher bills.
Here are just a few things to watch out for:
- Sprinklers That Water Roads and Sidewalks. If your irrigation system is wasting energy watering these, your sprinkler heads need an adjustment.
- Broken Sprinkler Heads. A broken sprinkler head can waste several hundred gallons of water during a single cycle. That’s why it’s so important to replace them right away. System Leaks.
- Leaking pipes, valves and seals aren’t always easy to spot. That’s why it’s important to have your system checked by a licensed irrigation system maintenance company. These companies also offer maintenance plans, that can be customized to your unique needs.
While there are a few watering restrictions in the Tampa Bay area, today’s irrigation systems are well-equipped to handle them. In fact, instead of wasting water, you could end up conserving more. Highly-efficient fixtures coupled with the modern conveniences, like a rainfall sensor and timer could actually help you save up to 60% on utility costs. Have questions or want to see how much you could save? Give us a call at 727-772-3819 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help.
About the Author:
Former U.S. Coast Guard and Tampa-native Joseph Swett is the owner of Sunrise Irrigation, a Palm Harbor-based company that has been providing sprinkler and irrigation services in the Tampa Bay Area, Florida, for more than 20 years. A RainBird-trained landscape specialist, Mr. Swett is dedicated to helping Florida homes and businesses implement effective irrigation technologies and transition towards smart water conservation. In his spare time, Joe sponsors and plays in two men’s softball leagues, but also enjoys surfing and going fishing with his family.