Joe Swett
By Published On: March 8th, 2019Comments Off on Three Main Sources of Water Used for Commercial Landscape Irrigation in Tampa Bay33.4 min read

Look around at the beautiful commercial landscaping and lawns all over Tampa Bay. Did you ever stop and think what type of water they are using for their irrigation to keep the areas looking lush and green all year round?

Well, these commercial businesses have three main sources of water that is used for irrigation in Tampa Bay. There are important issues related to each of these sources when used in the context of landscape irrigation.
These three sources are:


Groundwater is water that exists underground in saturated zones beneath the land surface. The upper surface of the saturated zone is called the water table.

Business owners are not permitted to use an excess of groundwater for their commercial landscape irrigation or any other purpose. This is true for businesses that use groundwater as well as those that rely on surface water. If you are planning to make use of a groundwater supply for the irrigation of your property, check with the state department of water resources to find out the maximum withdrawal volume that does not spur the need for a water withdrawal permit.

“Well water is groundwater that is untreated. Well drillers drill down to the aquifer, which is an underground layer of permeable rock containing water. Then, a pump system is installed to carry the water up from the ground and into your home. It isn’t hard to find drinkable groundwater. But, since groundwater is essentially rain that has moved through the soil and into an aquifer, it can absorb a lot of other things along the way,” explains

Surface Water

Surface water is water on the surface of the planet such as in a river, lake, wetland, or ocean. It can be contrasted with groundwater and atmospheric water. Non-saline surface water uses is replenished by precipitation and by recruitment from ground-water.

City Water

“City water get water from a variety of locations, including groundwater (aquifers) and surface water (lakes and rivers). The water is then, in most cases, purified. The process goes something like this in the case of city/municipal water being fed by a groundwater supply:

  1. Water first enters the water treatment facility through an inlet pipe with a large metal grill to keep out large debris.
  2. A preliminary screening takes place at a pumping station, which removes fish, garbage, sewage, and grass.
  3. Once the debris is removed, the raw water enters the water treatment plant. At this point the water is dirty, smelly and unsafe to drink. Activated carbon is added to the water to remove the bad taste and odor.
  4. The water now enters a series of mixing tanks to coagulate and form clumps of sedimentation to be filtered mechanically removing all particulate matter. However, the clear water is still teeming with bacteria and viruses.
  5. Technicians chlorinate the water by adding 1.9 ml per liter of water and, in many municipal water treatment systems; fluoride is also added to the water supply. Treated water then either flows by gravity or is pumped to reservoirs, which can be elevated in such cases as water towers or on the ground. Once water is used, wastewater is typically discharged in a sewer system and treated in a wastewater treatment plant before being discharged into a river,” reports.

Reclaimed water is offered through the City and can be used for irrigation. In fact, Florida is a leader in the US in the use of reclaimed water for irrigation, with approximately 660 million gallons of reclaimed water being used each day, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection 2006 Reuse Inventory

Reclaimed water does typically contain elevated levels of salts relative to Florida surface and groundwater, except where saltwater intrusion is problematic in coastal areas. The elevated levels of salts in reclaimed water may impact different plant species in varying ways due to differences in salt tolerance. Periodic testing of reclaimed water used in irrigation is recommended.

Also, reclaimed water may contain plant nutrients, which may need to be considered in any fertility program. It is not clear that all the nutrients in reclaimed water are available for plants. Finally, the content of reclaimed irrigation water can vary between different municipalities due to permitting differences and specific differences between wastewater treatment plants. For more information on the reuse of reclaimed wastewater see the Florida Department of Environmental Protection at

Commercial landscape management

When owning and operating your commercial business, it is important to present a positive image when customers and potential customers use your facilities. People immediately form judgments of your business and its offerings at first glance when they pull into your lot. To give the best impression, it is cruical that your landscaping is thoroughly irrigated on a regular schedule.

No two Commercial Landscaping Irrigation Plans are alike

Every business owner requires an ally who understands the subtleties of commercial landscape irrigation. It is a mistake to hire a company that applies the same approach to each client’s landscaping. Each property should be carefully analyzed by licensed and insured technicians. Every Florida property deserves a custom-tailored irrigation program to suit its unique needs, style and other seemingly minor details that actually mean quite a lot.

Rules and Regulations Apply to Commercial Landscape Irrigation

The State of Florida and its municipalities have committed to water conservation efforts by passing numerous codes, ordinances, regulations, and rules. These standards are updated on are a regular basis and govern the installation, design, and management of all different types of landscape irrigation systems. Florida business owners and managers should strive to hire commercial landscape irrigation experts who stay up-to-date on the nuances of these rules and regulations. The last thing your business needs is to be cited for a violation of a water conservation rule, code or ordinance. Ally with the best in the business and you won’t have to worry about the fallout from such a violation.

Commercial Landscape Irrigation Extends Beyond Installation

Though the proper installation of your property’s irrigation system is an important step, the best irrigation companies provide additional support. Every Florida business owner needs and deserves comprehensive support from a professional irrigation contractor to maintain a gorgeous lawn and landscaping. Once a dependable, water-efficient, and elite-performing irrigation system is installed on your property, your business will reap the rewards. The failure to settle on a detailed maintenance plan will ultimately result in a dry, brown and general unsightly lawn, and landscaping. The best irrigation companies provide maintenance services as often as every month or every quarter.

About the Author: Joe Swett

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.


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