Outdoor Watering Returns to Twice-A-Week


 Outdoor watering returns to twice-a-week

 Bartow, Fla. (August 1, 2017) — Beginning Wednesday, August 2, Polk County property owners may return to irrigating their lawns and landscapes twice a week. During the extreme drought this spring, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) issued more extreme restrictions on outdoor water usage. Those restrictions have now been lifted.

Watering hours for potable (drinking) and reclaimed water are from midnight to 10 a.m. or 4 p.m. to midnight. Addresses that end in even numbers water on Thursdays and/or Sundays. Odd number addresses may water on Wednesdays and/or Saturdays. Common areas or areas where no address can be determined, may water on Tuesdays and/or Fridays.

For more complete information on watering schedules and restrictions, go to polk-county.net/utilities.


Save the Date: Central Florida Agritourism Conference – Sept 26-27

When: Tuesday, September 26 and Wednesday September 27, 2017
Where: UF/IFAS Extension Polk County, 1702 Hwy 17 S., Bartow, FL 33830 and tours launching from True Blue Winery, Davenport
See details as they develop: On the calendar page of http://polksmallfarms.com
Contact: Mary Beth Henry at 863-519-1049 or mbhenry@ufl.edu.

Developing Potential Polk Small Farms

Did you know the number of Florida agritourism farms has more than doubled in the last few years? Join us to learn more about offering recreational activities on your farm to expand your revenue while increasing public awareness about agriculture.

The UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Small Farms program, in partnership with the UF/IFAS Agricultural Awareness Initiative Team, will offer a two day conference for agritourism operators and those considering opening their farms to the public for recreational activities. The program will be held Tuesday, September 26 at the UF/IFAS Extension Polk County office in Bartow and will feature farm tours launching from True Blue Winery in Davenport on Wednesday, September 27.

Recent changes in law affecting agritourism and new research on consumer preferences for agritourism in Florida will be presented. Panel discussions will address audience questions on services available to support incorporating agritourism into farm operations and current agritourism operators will discuss the joys and struggles of their experiences. Breakout sessions discussing cooperative strategies to support industry development will also be featured.

Final details of the program, including an out of state speaker, are still developing. Registration will be available through the calendar page of the UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Small Farms Program at http://polksmallfarms.com. This program is offered by University of Florida IFAS Extension Polk County, an equal opportunity institution, and is supported by

City Commission Workshop – Low Impact Design & Development – June 26

View the Agenda Package

Subject:  As part of the mini-grant awarded to the City by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity – Competitive Florida program, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Central Florida Regional Planning Council will provide an overview of Low Impact Design and Development and the benefits to development sites and water quality.

The purpose of this interactive workshop is to discuss residential and non-residential property aspects for low impact development (LID) and water conservation practices critical to existing and all types of future development in the Polk City Exemption Area and the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern.  Water Conservation and LID are imperative to the future of Polk City’s viability.  In order to optimize development on limited non-residential properties, LID techniques offer space-saving yet innovative and effective stormwater treatment prior to discharge into the Green Swamp Area of Critical State Concern.

Low Impact Development (LID) is defined as:  Design techniques used to maintain or replicate pre-development hydrologic regimes by creating a functionally equivalent hydrologic landscape. LID encompasses a variety of stormwater management techniques, including bio-swales, rain gardens, and pervious pavements. These techniques reduce the amount of effective impervious area in a watershed, lessening the watershed volumes and runoff rates.

Lightning Safety When Working Outdoors

Lightning strikes can severely injure or kill workers whose jobs involve working outdoors. Lightning is often overlooked as an occupational hazard, but employers need awareness about lightning hazards to ensure their workers’ safety. This fact sheet provides employers and workers at outdoor worksites with lightning safety recommendations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


Lightning is a dangerous natural force. Annually in the United States, cloud-to-ground lightning occurs 20 to 25 million times and over 300 people are struck by lightning. During the past 30 years, about 50 people, on average, have been killed by lightning strikes every year, and many more suffer permanent disabilities.

Precautions should be taken to prevent worker exposure to lightning. Employers should recognize lightning as an occupational hazard. Supervisors and workers at outdoor worksites should take lightning safety seriously.

Workers whose jobs involve working outdoors in open spaces, on or near tall objects, or near explosives or conductive materials (e.g., metal) have significant exposure to lightning risks. Worker activities at higher risk for lightning hazards include:

  • Logging
  • Explosives handling or storage
  • Heavy equipment operation
  • Roofing
  • Construction (e.g., scaffolding)
  • Building maintenance
  • Power utility field repair
  • Steel erection/telecommunications
  • Farming and field labor
  • Plumbing and pipe fitting
  • Lawn services/landscaping
  • Airport ground personnel operations
  • Pool and beach lifeguarding

Reducing Lightning Hazards When Working Outdoors

Employers, supervisors, and workers should understand lightning risks, characteristics, and precautions to minimize workplace hazards. Lightning is unpredictable and can strike outside the heaviest rainfall areas or even up to 10 miles from any rainfall.

Many lightning victims are caught outside during a storm because they did not act promptly to get to a safe place, or they go back outside too soon after a storm has passed. If signs of approaching thunderstorms occur, workers should not begin any task they cannot quickly stop. Proper planning and safe practices can easily increase lightning safety when working

When thunder roars, go indoors! If you hear thunder, even a distant rumble, get to a safe place immediately. Thunderstorms always include lightning. Any thunder you hear is caused by lightning! NOAA advises that nowhere outside is safe when thunderstorms are in your area.

OSHA and NOAA recommend that employers and supervisors follow these lightning safety best practices for workers whose jobs involve working outdoors:

Check NOAA Weather Reports: Prior to beginning any outdoor work, employers and supervisors should check NOAA weather reports (weather.gov) and radio forecasts for all weather hazards. OSHA recommends that employers consider rescheduling jobs to avoid workers being caught outside in hazardous weather conditions. When working outdoors, supervisors and workers should continuously monitor weather conditions. Watch for darkening clouds and increasing wind speeds, which can indicate developing thunderstorms. Pay close attention to local television, radio, and Internet weather reports, forecasts, and emergency notifications regarding thunderstorm activity and severe weather.

Seek Shelter in Buildings: Employers and supervisors should know and tell workers which buildings to go to after hearing thunder or seeing lightning. NOAA recommends seeking out fully enclosed buildings with electrical wiring and plumbing. Remain in the shelter for at least 30 minutes after hearing the last sound of thunder.

Vehicles as Shelter: If safe building structures are not accessible, employers should guide workers to hard-topped metal vehicles with rolled up windows. Remain in the vehicle for at least 30 minutes after hearing the last sound of thunder.

Phone Safety: After hearing thunder, do not use corded phones, except in an emergency. Cell phones and cordless phones may be used safely.

Emergency Action Plan

Employers should have a written Emergency Action Plan (EAP), as outlined in 29 CFR 1910.38 or 29 CFR 1926.35. The EAP should include a written lightning safety protocol for outdoor workers. This lightning safety protocol should:

  • Inform supervisors and workers to take action after hearing thunder, seeing lightning, or perceiving any other warning signs of approaching thunderstorms.
  • Indicate how workers are notified about lightning safety warnings.
  • Identify locations and requirements for safe shelters.
  • Indicate response times necessary for all workers to reach safe shelters.
  • Specify approaches for determining when to suspend outdoor work activities, and when to resume outdoor work activities.
  • Account for the time required to evacuate customers and members of the public, and the time needed for workers to reach safety.

Employers should also post information about lightning safety at outdoor worksites. All employees should be trained on how to follow the EAP, including the lightning safety procedures.

What is lightning? Lightning is a giant spark of electricity in the atmosphere between clouds or between a cloud and the ground. Lightning can occur:• Between the cloud and the ground (cloud-to-ground lightning)• Within and between thunderstorm clouds (intra- and inter-cloud lightning)

Lightning Safety Training

Employers should adequately train all workers on lightning safety. Training should be provided for each outdoor worksite, so that supervisors and workers know in advance where a worksite’s safe shelters are and the time it takes to reach them. Employers should train supervisors and workers to provide lightning safety warnings in sufficient time for everyone to reach a worksite’s safe shelters and take other appropriate precautions.

Lightning Warning Systems

An employer’s EAP may include lightning warning or detection systems, which can provide advance warning of lightning hazards. However, no systems can detect the “first strike,” detect all lightning, or predict lightning strikes. NOAA recommends that employers first rely on NOAA weather reports, including NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards: www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr.

Commercial lightning detection and notification services are available to monitor for lightning activity. These notification services can send alerts when lightning activity develops or moves to within a certain range of a work site. In addition, these commercial systems can provide mapped locations of lightning strikes from an approaching storm. However, these systems cannot predict the first lightning strike. Consequently, it is important to watch the sky for storms developing overhead or nearby and get to a safe place prior to the first lightning strike.

Portable and hand-held lightning detectors function by detecting the electromagnetic signal from a nearby lightning strike and then processing the signal to estimate the distance to the lightning strike. These devices typically do not detect all strikes, cannot predict the first strike, cannot provide the location of a strike, and are less accurate than the commercial detection and notification systems. In some cases, simply listening for thunder or watching the sky may be a better indication of a developing or nearby storm.

If Caught Outside in a Thunderstorm

If you find yourself caught outside during a thunderstorm, there may be nothing you can do to prevent being struck by lightning. There simply is no safe place outside in a thunderstorm. This is why it is very important to get to a safe place at the first signs of a thunderstorm. If you are caught outside follow NOAA’s recommendations to decrease the risk of being struck.

  • Lightning is likely to strike the tallest objects in a given area—you should not be the tallest object.
  • Avoid isolated tall trees, hilltops, utility poles, cell phone towers, cranes, large equipment, ladders, scaffolding, or rooftops.
  • Avoid open areas, such as fields. Never lie flat on the ground.
  • Retreat to dense areas of smaller trees that are surrounded by larger trees, or retreat to low-lying areas (e.g., valleys, ditches) but watch for flooding.
  • Avoid water, and immediately get out of and
  • Water does not attract lightning, but it is an excellent conductor of electricity. For boating safety see NOAA PA 200252.
  • Avoid wiring, plumbing, and fencing. Lightning can travel long distances through metal, which is an excellent conductor of electricity. Stay away from all metal objects, equipment, and surfaces that can conduct electricity.
  • Do not shelter in sheds, pavilions, tents, or covered porches as they do not provide adequate protection from lightning.
  • Seek fully-enclosed, substantial buildings with wiring and plumbing. In modern buildings, the interior wiring and plumbing will act as an earth ground. A building is a safe shelter as long as you are not in contact with anything that can conduct electricity (e.g., electrical equipment or cords, plumbing fixtures, corded phones). Do not lean against concrete walls or floors (which may have metal bars inside).

OSHA Standards

Under the General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), employers are required to provide their employees with a place of employment that “is free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.” The courts have interpreted OSHA’s general duty clause to mean that an employer has a legal obligation to provide a workplace free of conditions or activities that either the employer or industry recognizes as hazardous and that cause, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees when there is a feasible method to abate the hazard. This includes lightning hazards that can cause death or serious bodily harm.

During storms or high winds, OSHA prohibits:

  • work on or from scaffolds (29 CFR 1926.451(f)(12));
  • crane hoists (29 CFR 1926.1431(k)(8)); and
  • work on top of walls (29 CFR 1926.854(c)).

District Water Restrictions – Watering Schedule

Modified Phase III Water Shortage Restrictions

Always refer to your city or county regulations first.

Effective Date and Areas

  • The District’s Modified Phase III water shortage restrictions are in effect June 5, 2017 through August 1, 2017, except where stricter measures have been imposed by local governments.
  • These measures currently apply to all of Citrus, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties; the portions of Charlotte, Highlands, Lake, Levy, Marion, Polk, and Sumter, within the District’s jurisdiction; and Gasparilla Island (including the portion in Lee County) except as noted below.
  • Some local governments, such as St. Petersburg, have local ordinances with special watering times.
  • Some local governments, such as Sarasota County and Dunedin, have local ordinances with special one-day-per-week schedules.
  • Ocala and most of unincorporated Marion County follows the St. Johns River Water Management District’s water restrictions; however, the City of Dunnellon and The Villages remain under the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s water restrictions.
  • Unincorporated Levy County follows the Suwannee River Water Management District.
  • These restrictions apply to the use of wells and surface sources such as ponds, rivers and canals, in addition to utility-supplied water.

Lawn Watering Schedule and Times

  • Lawn watering is limited to a once-per-week schedule. Follow this schedule unless your city or county has a different once-per-week schedule or more stringent restrictions.
    Addresses with “house numbers” … May only irrigate on …
    Ending in 0 or 1 Monday
    Ending in 2 or 3 Tuesday
    Ending in 4 or 5 Wednesday
    Ending in 6 or 7 Thursday
    Ending in 8 or 9 Friday
    No address (community common areas, etc.) Friday
  • Unless your city or county already has stricter hours in effect, the allowable watering hours are before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m., regardless of property size.

Landscape Watering Schedule and Times

  • Handwatering and micro-irrigation of plants (other than lawns) can be done on any day at any time, if needed.

New Lawns & Plants

  • New lawns and plants have a 60-day establishment period. On days 1-30, they may be watered any day of the week.
  • During days 31-60, they may be watered approximately every other day. Even-numbered addresses may water on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Odd-numbered addresses may be watered on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. See also “Deed Restrictions” below.

Reclaimed Water

  • Reclaimed water remains subject to voluntary watering hours, unless blended with another water source or restricted by the local government or utility.

Car Washing

  • Car washing is limited to once-per-week on the designated watering day for the location.
  • Commercial car washes, including mobile detailing businesses, may still operate on any day.
  • Emergency and other first responder vehicles may still be washed on any day as needed.
  • Fundraising events are prohibited unless they were scheduled prior to enactment of this order.

Pressure Washing

  • Pressure washing is allowed once a year and for necessary purposes, such as prior to painting or sealing, in order to maintain a paint or material warranty, to address a health or safety hazard and to comply with health laws. See also “Deed Restrictions” below.


  • Fountains and other aesthetic water features may only operate eight hours per day. The regular hours of operation can be selected by the owner, but must be posted (see fact sheet for list of exemptions, such as water features that also provide aerification to koi ponds).

Other Water Uses

  • Sprinkler-like devices used on a lawn for recreational purposes shall be limited to the lawn and landscape restrictions.
  • The lawn and landscape of agricultural operations, commercial establishments, golf courses, athletic fields, and industrial facilities are subject to the lawn and landscape restrictions listed in the Water Shortage Order.
  • Additional restrictions apply to water uses specific to agricultural operations, commercial establishments, golf courses, athletic fields, and industrial facilities.

Deed Restrictions & Community Standards Enforcement

  • Homeowners associations and other entities must suspend any requirement to replace lawns, pressure wash, or engage in other activity which increases water use during this water shortage declaration.

Water Utilities and Other Essential Services

  • Water use necessary for fire suppression, maintaining safe drinking water quality, and other essential services is not restricted.
  • Water utilities, in conjunction with local government agencies, must enforce restrictions and provide a monthly enforcement report (see new fact sheet for details).
  • Water utilities must continue implementing customer messaging and other water conservation efforts (see new fact sheet for details).

Report Watering Violations

Use this service to report a water use violation, or you may call us at 1-800-848-0499 (FL only) and leave a detailed message.

Contact Us

If you have additional water restriction questions, please contact us by sending an email toWater.Restrictions@WaterMatters.org (anytime) or by calling our water restrictions hotlineat 1-800-848-0499 (FL only) or 1-800-836-0797 (FL only), ext. 2298 (during business hours).

Mailing Address

Demand Management Program
7601 U.S. Hwy. 301 North
Tampa, FL 33637

A petition for variance pdf from year-round water conservation measures or water shortage restrictions is available for qualified circumstances. To confirm that a variance is needed or for assistance when filling out an application form, check with our staff during normal business hours at 1-800-848-0499 (FL only) or emailWater.Variances@WaterMatters.org.

Always refer to your city or county regulations first.

The District allows local governments to impose special watering schedules.

View map of Lawn Watering


For more detailed information, view these fact sheets.